IFAI receives U.S. funding award to boost exports

(Roseville, MN - Sept. 29, 2010) U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke has announced the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) is one of five organizations selected in 2010 to receive more than $1.7 million for projects that increase U.S. exports, create jobs and strengthen the U.S. global competitive edge. The awards are given under the Department of Commerce's Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP).

IFAI's funding is specifically to encourage U.S.-based specialty fabric suppliers to export into the Asia Pacific region. The funds will be used to lower costs for U.S. companies seeking to exhibit at IFAI Expo Asia 2011, taking place in Singapore, March 22-25, 2011, and to bring qualified targeted buyers to the event to meet with these U.S. companies.

According to Peter McKernan, IFAI Chairman of the Board, "IFAI's objective is to provide leadership and opportunity for the industry. We want to raise the international industry's awareness of the broader products and applications offered within the U.S. specialty fabrics industry. A critical component of that will be to develop new trade events so that IFAI's member companies-industry leaders-can actively participate in international markets by increasing their exports. This in turn will create good, high-paying jobs in the U.S." 

"Already, fifty specialty fabrics industry suppliers from North America, Asia, Australia, and Europe have committed to exhibiting at IFAI Expo 2011," McKernan says. "And 25 industry organizations are partnering with IFAI to show support and promote this event, including the global industry's top five nonwovens groups: ANFA (Asia Nonwovens Fabrics Association), EDANA (European Disposables and Nonwovens Association), CNITA (China Nonwovens and Industrial Textiles Association), INDA (Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry), and NWI (The Nonwovens Institute)."

IFAI President and CEO Stephen Warner said that he is elated with the MDCP award because the time is right for pursuing exports. "There is a tremendous opportunity for export business in the specialty fabrics market." he says. "The economic landscape in Asia Pacific continues to evolve. The building and construction outlook is robust. New, emerging markets such as medical product devices and smart textile products are being developed." 

"The boom is on in the Asia Pacific region for specialty fabrics. In the last two years the region's governments committed more than $300 billion for green industrial projects, energy and water conservation, renewable energy, air and water quality and coastal regeneration. All these applications can involve products made from specialty fabrics," Warner said.

The MDCP award program includes financial and technical assistance from the International Trade Administration (ITA) to support well-defined business plans aimed at increasing exports and U.S. competitiveness within certain industries. An MDCP award establishes a partnership between ITA and nonprofit industry groups to help strengthen global competitiveness and create jobs through exports. Projects receiving funding include efforts to increase exports among small manufacturers of water treatment equipment and independent film makers. 

"These funds will help U.S. firms compete globally so they can sell more of their goods and services abroad and create jobs here in the U.S.," Locke said. "The MDCP is a good example of how public-private sector partnerships can leverage limited public resources to help small- and medium-sized businesses expand their exports to compete in the global marketplace."  These cooperative agreements help to further President Obama's National Export Initiative, which aims to double U.S. exports within the next five years in support of several million U.S. jobs.

The five recipients of the 2010 MDCP awards are:

  • Industrial Fabrics Association International
  • Independent Film & Television Alliance
  • National Chamber Foundation
  • University Health System Consortium
  • World Trade Center San Diego

Since MDCP's inception in 1993, the Department of Commerce has made 102 awards under the program. In an average year, MDCP is projected to generate $219 million in U.S. exports.

IFAI Expo Asia 2011 Visitor Registration and Exhibit stand reservations information is available at www.ifaiexpoasia.com. For more information about the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) visit www.ifai.com.