For Apucarana, the 2010 World Cup is now part of the city’s routine. Apucarana is a city in the north of Paraná state, in the South of Brazil, 365 km away from state capital Curitiba. The countdown to the main sports event in the world, scheduled for June 11, in Johannesburg, South Africa, is generating great expectations for the local economy.
The city houses the main baseball cap production hub in Brazil. Two hundred small, medium and large factories are part of the Apucarana Baseball Cap and Gift production hub, whose monthly production is six million caps and two million T-Shirts. This volume granted the city the title of ‘National baseball cap hub’. The Brazilian Micro and Small Business Support Service (Sebrae) has been supporting this hub since 2003.
The companies in the city in Paraná are responsible for 80% of national production. Since late December last year, some factories have been producing baseball caps and other items with the 2010 World Cup theme. Production has been growing each month. Expectations this year are for the hub to generate 20% greater revenues and production than last year.
“As the 2010 World Cup approaches, our hope also rises,” said Valdenilson Vado da Costa, president at the National Association of the Baseball Cap, T-Shirt and Gift Industries (Anibb), an association involved in governance of the hub. Up to the moment, the event is the theme of 10% of total production at the hub, according to Vado.
“The 2010 Cup should expand the number of work posts in the city by 30%, especially for embroiderers, silk screeners and seamstresses, among others,” forecasts Jayme Leonel, the director at Milano Bonés, president of the Union of Garment Industries of the state of Apucarana and of the Commercial Association of the city.
To him, the event should be the most important for the hub this year. “If the Brazilian Team does well in the matches, that should help our business even more,” he added.
The bet of businessmen is that the world football cup should help in the recovery of revenues and production of the hub, which has recently had negative results, especially in 2009. Production and revenues dropped by about 40%, some 20% of the hub was paralyzed and there was 20% unemployment in the city, due to the impact of the international crisis.
The expansion in baseball cap and T-Shirt exports from China last year also helped reduce the business in Apucarana, where 48% of the economy is based on production of caps and T-Shirts. In 2005, the baseball cap and present hub was surprised with the prohibition of baseball cap production for political campaigns, promoted by the Electoral Justice.
Currently, the concern with China has dropped. Approval of regulations by the national committee in the baseball cap sector, supported by the Brazilian Textile and Apparel Industry Association (Abit), inhibited Chinese imports a little. “Imports of baseball caps were not monitored, before these regulations. Baseball caps were considered accessories, like so many other products,” explained Vado.
The same committee established approval of a special code for caps and hats as items in the Mercosur Common Nomenclature (NCM). “This measure generated greater safety for producers of caps. Before, they were imported with no control,” added the president at Anibb.
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