An exhibitor works at her booth at the Offprice Show in Las Vegas, the United States, Aug. 11, 2019. The four-day Offprice Show was opened on Aug. 10 in Las Vegas, selling clothing, footwear and accessories. (Xinhua/Li Ying)
At the Off Price Show and the larger MAGIC Show in Las Vegas, American retailers and industry leaders say:
--"We value our Chinese partners and welcome them to stay with us."
-- "We need strong global relationships, particularly with China."
--"I don't agree with the tariffs. They're not helping anybody. I think that it's best for us to be friends. That's win-win situation. This trade war is a lose-lose situation."
by Julia Pierrepont III
LAS VEGAS, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- The Off Price Show (OPS) at the Sands Hotel and the larger MAGIC Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center this week represent the movers and shakers in the U.S. fashion industry, from trendy sportswear, to "fast fashion," to celebrity and high-end luxury brands that the whole world covets.
With the trade war ignited by the White House is dealing body blow to buyers and sellers on both sides of the Pacific, the message from American retailers in Las Vegas was nonetheless a positive one to their Chinese counterparts.
"We value our Chinese partners and welcome them to stay with us," said Christopher Griffen, president of International Business Development at UBM Fashion, a leading producer of world-renowned fashion trade shows and head of sourcing for the MAGIC Show's Footwear Pavilion.
He said the China-U.S. relationship remains strong and important, though under some strain right now. Reassuring the Chinese vendors in Las Vegas, he said, "We are here to provide a platform for factories across the world. We work hard to bring the buyer in and provide an environment where business can get done. We are looking forward to working with China to ensure future success for both sides."
"That's the reason why the China Pavilion is 20 percent bigger this year than it was last year, despite the tariffs," he told Xinhua on Monday before the opening ceremony of Premium China Footwear Pavilion at Magic Show, which was organized by China Chamber of Commerce for I/E of Light Industrial Products & Art-Crafts.
A woman browses clothes during the Offprice Show in Las Vegas, the United States, Aug. 11, 2019. (Xinhua/Li Ying)
Tricia Barglof, executive director of the Off Price Show, also affirmed that Chinese vendors were a vital component of the U.S. off-price industry and always an essential part of the OPS.
She pointed out to Xinhua that lower-priced Chinese goods helped establish the off price industry in the first place - now a multi-billion-dollar global industry -- and helped launch the OPS 25 years ago.
"The key in the off-price industry are those strong relationships that our buyers have developed with China over the years, and they continue to grow those relationships," she added.
Raphael Shin of L.A.-based online retailer HYFVE has strong connections with China. "Our basic lines are from Vietnam, but our higher quality fashion lines are from China," he told Xinhua.
He revealed that though the tariffs would push up his prices, the increase would only amount to a few pennies. "We can adjust to that, so we're not actively looking for new suppliers anywhere else."
An exhibitor shows a hat made in China at the Offprice Show in Las Vegas, the United States, Aug. 11, 2019. (Xinhua/Li Ying)
"I don't agree with the tariffs. They're not helping anybody. I think that it's best for us to be friends. That's win-win situation. This trade war is a lose-lose situation," he added.
Adam Allen of Capsmith, a company which specializes in logoed baseball caps, said that they've been doing business in China for 30 years and don't see that ending any time soon.
"We get a few products from places like Guatemala, but mostly we use factories in Shenzhen, Yangzhou of Jiangsu province, and Qingdao, all in China. We've had good relationships there for decades," Allen said, adding that products from northern China are cheaper and could help them offset the tariffs.
Jonathan Hong and Kyle Kim from Uni Hosiery in Los Angeles told Xinhua "We've been doing business with China for 40 years, and we won't sever that kind of relationship at the first hiccup."
With China supplying an estimated 50 to 80 percent of the goods on sale at the trade show, buyers and sellers were feeling the chill as the clock counts down to the next round of U.S. tariff hikes.
"Everybody is talking about the trade war. They are cautiously watching what the new U.S.-China trade relations are and how they're going to impact their business," said Barglof.
People attend the Offprice Show in Las Vegas, the United States, Aug. 11, 2019. (Xinhua/Li Ying)
Nevertheless, Jimmy Gindi, a U.S. vendor who attributed this year's market slowdown to fear, felt relations with China should continue. "My gut feeling is China's economy is dependent on the U.S. economy because of how much money we owe them."
Matt Priest, CEO of the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America, encouraged U.S. and Chinese MAGIC attendees not to let tariff concerns overwhelm their good business sense and to focus on continuing strong business connections.
"Connections are so important to doing global business. We have global companies that serve global consumers, and we need strong global relationships, particularly with China, and that will always continue to be the case," Matt said.
"Keep working with our buyers, keep working with our brands, keep coming to Las Vegas, and we'll keep those connections alive."