The once-highly projectionist domestic textile industry has definitely seen the light and is rushing into the global marketplace. In the industry’s latest big move, the American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI) announced creation of an independent textile export trading company to explore new sales opportunities around the world.

Called Texport, it will function as a typical trading company by providing shipping, financing and documentation, according to its chairman,James R. COPLAND  III, who is also chairman of  Copland Inc. of Burlington, N.C. 

Initially, 13 ATMI members have signed on as Texport shareholders, including Southern Mills Inc. of Union City, an Atlanta suburb in south Fulton County. Other members include Copland, Greenwood (S.C.) Mills, Mayfair Mills, Arcadia, S.C. and Cranston (R.I.) Print Works Co.

Texport president Carmer Robinson outlined the trading company’s global strategy: initial focus will be selling in Latin America, then to Europe, Asia and Japan. “We now need to be positioning ourselves for the day when there is a free trade zone from Alaska to Argentina, probably within the next 10 years,” said Mr. Robinson, a former executive of Dixie Yarns Inc., where he set up an export department.

Separately, ATMI president Walter Elisha said the industry will seek Nafta parity for Caribbean Basin countries. Mr. Elisha, CEO of Springs Industries, Fort Mill, S.C., spoke to Georgia textile executives May 6 in Mexico.