Your View: Made in USA products should have access

Jul. 04, 2013 @ 07:10 PM

The Made in the USA Foundation has been trying without success for over a year to rent exhibit space at Interhall in High Point to allow smaller U.S. manufacturers to sell their products at the largest furniture market in the world.
Interhall is very special and exceptionally important space for displaying new products and companies. I learned recently that Interhall provides current tenants at Interhall with a right of first refusal for space that becomes available.
This gives an unfair advantage to existing tenants, most of whom are importers. This is a restraint on fair competition. American antitrust laws should protect against such a significant restraint of trade.
International Home Furnishings Center (IHFC) is owned by International Market Centers, L.P. which is majority owned by funds managed by Bain Capital Partners.  The IMC states, “IHFC created Interhall — 80,000 square feet on the first floor — as a stage for the freshest new ideas to bask in the spotlight. Dozens of up and coming furniture and accessory exhibitors earned their places here after a rigorous juried selection process. Stroll through Interhall and expect delight, surprise and, just maybe, the Next Big Thing.”
Well you can stroll through Interhall, but 85 percent of the products there are made in China, Thailand and not in the U.S.A.
I have asked Interhall for 1,000 square feet of space to display the Made in the USA Collection.  This collection includes many American manufacturers who are not displayed at High Point, either because they cannot afford to have their own space, or because they are focusing on other markets, like hotels or offices.
One thousand square feet is 1/80th of Interhall, a small commitment for IMC. Shouldn’t High Point at least provide equal opportunity for American manufacturers, or have the importers created a stranglehold on display space in the United States?
JOEL D. JOSEPH
Los Angeles, Calif.
The writer is chairman of the Made in the USA Foundation based in Los Angeles.

Flags flew on Independence Day
It’s the time of year when we celebrate our independence — July 4th. I hope the citizens of High Point are aware that CJP Realtors puts miniature American flags out every year. Amazingly, if an area CJP plans to place flags is for sale by a competitor real estate company, that place still gets a flag. This company deserves recognition because many people do not realize that CJP gives out these flags. Thanks to CJP, we celebrated the Independence Day with their flags.
HERMAN HUNTER SR.
High Point

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