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Textile News
James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

Textile Lobby Urges Job Protection

By James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

As the Senate Finance Committee began looking at a number of international trade measures, the Washington-based National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) called for a revised US trade policy that would encourage investment in the United States and stop the flood of jobs to overseas countries. Andy Warlick, president and CEO of Parkdale Mills and a member of NCTO’s board, discussed a number of US and foreign laws and regulations that continue to harm US manufacturers.

Warlick hit particularly hard on US free trade agreements (FTAs) that he claims have contained “large loopholes” that have cost hundreds of thousands of US textile and apparel jobs. “ Congress has approved 10 free trade agreements over the past five years that have dramatically increased access to the US market for foreign-made textile goods while dramatically decreasing export opportunities for US textile products,” Warlick said. He warned that loopholes in FTAs will provide a conduit for Chinese goods to enter the United States with preferential treatment.

Warlick sees tax policies here and abroad as a major source of increasing trade deficit problems. He claims US tax policies create incentives for companies to invest in overseas operations and displace jobs here at home. He said US exported goods are taxed both in the United States through corporate taxes and overseas through value added taxes (VATs), while imports into the United States pay no US corporate income taxes and get their VATs rebated in their own countries.

In addition to addressing the VAT issue, Warlick called for passage of legislation introduced in both the House and Senate that would permit the United States to take action against countries that use currency manipulation to subsidize their exports. He told the senators that if Congress would tackle the two issues of VATs and currency manipulation alone, “I am convinced the United States would experience a rebirth in manufacturing and the restoration of millions of US manufacturing jobs.”

March 13, 2007