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Fashion industry weary of SARS

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The U.S. fashion industry has been maintaining rocky business with its Asian textile manufacturers ever since SARS struck. Widespread fear of catching this mysterious new disease might cause workers to flee, and factories or even countries to require quarantine, though there has of yet been no noticeable impact on factory production.

In the absence of face-to-face meetings between U.S.
apparel merchants and overseas suppliers, business ties have weakened and the probability of design flaws and lower quality control have risen. Ever since the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned about overseas travel, almost all U.S. companies have postponed travel to Hong Kong, mainland China, and other Asian countries. At present, companies are doing what they can to conduct business by phone, fax, and computer.

Thus far, 128 people from various countries have been killed by SARS, one of the first being a U.S. garment merchant in Asia on business. Nearly 3,200 around the world are infected.

Not only has the uncontrolled spread of SARS from China brought death but an enormous economic crisis to Asia as well, on the demand side as well as the supply side; tourism has dropped considerably in Asia.

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