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ATMI President Resigns Major Changes Expected

ATMI President Resigns,Major Changes ExpectedParks Shackelford has resigned as president of the Washington-based American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI), raising questions about the future of what has been the textile industrys central trade association for more than 50 years. Shackelford, who was named ATMI president in August of 2002, will take a job with Florida Crystals Corp., a sugar producer.Although the ATMI leadership has not made any decisions, there are three possible scenarios. The leadership could promote someone on the existing staff to president; they could go outside the industry, as was the case with Shackelford and his predecessor Carlos Moore; or ATMI could merge with another textile trade association. Because of ATMIs declining dues as a result of defections and poor business conditions, but also the fact that it does provide a number of services textile companies want, industry sources believe there could be a merger in the offing. The most likely candidates would the National Textile Association (NTA) and/or the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition (AMTAC). The Boston-based NTA has a diverse membership of more than 200 textile companies and suppliers, but does not have full-time representation in Washington. AMTAC has evolved from a lobbying group formed by Roger Milliken, CEO of MillikenandCompany, and Bruce Raynor, president of the Union of Needletrades Industries and Textile Employees (UNITE). Raynor and Milliken split last March when AMTAC decided to seek members outside of the textile and apparel complex. AMTAC is represented in Washington by a lobbying consultant, Augustine Tantillo, who also represents NTA. ATMI has a staff of seven full-time employees in Washington, including lobbyists and international trade experts.An ATMI source said the future of that organization is "in the hands of the officers."Milliken was a member of ATMIs original board of directors when that organization was formed in 1949. Milliken served as a board or executive committee member virtually every year until he left ATMI in a split over the associations approach to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). At the present time, he is co-chairman of AMTAC.Just last week, six fiber and textile trade associations, including NTA, AMTAC and ATMI, announced formation of a new lobbying coalition to seek better implementation of the Bush administration's frequent pledges to protect the interest of the US textile industry in its international trade negotiations. That action was triggered by the recently negotiated bilateral trade pact with Vietnam, and the administrations long delay in implementing a so-called "safeguard mechanism" that permits the US to negotiate or unilaterally impose new quotas on Chinese textile and apparel imports.By James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent June 2003