TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Levi Strauss Unit to Export to US under AGOA

Wednesday, 21 May 2003

Source: Business Day (Johannesburg)

The eightyear-old Levi Strauss factory in Epping, Cape Town, which started to make Levi 501 jeans for European markets last year, is beginning to produce jeans for export to the US, GM Mike Joubert said yesterday.

Joubert said during the international clothing group's 150th birthday that Levi's exports to the US would benefit from the provisions of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa).

Agoa permits duty-free access to the US market for a specified range of goods made in sub-Saharan African countries.

In addition to making jeans for the local market, the factory, which employs about 400 people, exports extensively to other African countries.

Levi Strauss & Co invested an initial $10m in the factory and four years ago another R13m was invested in washing equipment which enables it to produce a range of different finishes.

Joubert said the factory's sewing efficiencies were on a par with Levi Strauss worldwide and production was considerably faster than at any other clothing plant in SA.

Levi Strauss & Co's aim in the past year was to control, stabilise and grow the worldwide business as part of a plan put in place in 1999 to turn the group around, president and CEO Philip Marineau said in the group's 2002 annual report.

As part of the group's strategy to roll out innovative brands of Levi's, it launched a revamped version of its classic Levi's design as Type 1 jeans this year. Type 1 jeans, which were well received in Europe, were launched in SA in mid-April.