Does a Country With People Who Have Smaller Hands Have a Competitive Advantage in Manufacturing?
This was one of many thought provoking questions that came up during my recent discussion with Mr. Theo Samuels-Hunt, a Senior International Trade Specialist at the U.S. Department of Commerce based in Philadelphia.
According to a source of his that did substantive training of the Chinese many decades ago in sewing and textile manufacturing,
“You can train anyone to sew but if you do not have an innate physical ability, e.g., smaller hands to do more delicate work, that work cannot be done.”
And apparently, the Chinese and Italians have smaller hands according to source, which enable them to do more detailed work, as would someone from Ethiopia or Somalia.
Other less anecdotal but equally interesting comments shared revolved around the many benefits for exporters who use his office.
Generally speaking, he works with companies to help them learn how to export and to find foreign buyers in overseas markets. This typically means working with the overseas commercial officers in U.S. embassies who know the “movers and shakers” in the local foreign market and can therefore identify those companies that could be a “match” for the U.S. supplier looking to sell there.
U.S. manufacturers are eligible for his assistance when they have at least 50% of the value of their content as originating from the United States.
50% does not mean that 50% of the raw materials of the product must originate from the U.S. but rather, this 50%+ figure takes into account the value of other variables that contribute to a product such as it’s
- Research and design
- Intellectual Property
Theo is in the “Textile, Apparel and Sports” team in his office which means he works particularly close with companies in these areas and in particular, those dealing in industrial textiles, which would include yarns and fabrics for articles like military garments, architectural fabrics such as for shades and blinds, shoe (leather) companies, automotive and space fabric made goods and even a well-known wedding gown manufacturer.
Interested in learning more about how to export? Theo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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