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Industry Launches Campaign Against Chinese Imports

Industry Launches Campaign Against Chinese ImportsStunned by a rising tide of Chinese textile and apparel imports, leaders of the six major trade associations representing US textile manufacturers met in Washington June10 to develop plans to seek government help in stemming the tide. The industry leaders said they have made an "unwavering commitment to take any and all political steps to ensure the industrys survival."Joining in the effort are the American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI), American Yarn Spinners Association (AYSA), National Cotton Council (NCC), National Textile Association (NTA), American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition (AMTAC) and the American Fiber Manufacturers Association (AFMA).With Chinese imports reaching record-breaking levels, particularly those in the 29 product categories where quota restraints were recently removed, the association executive said they will seek government action in three areas. Firstly, they have called on the administration to implement the special "safeguard mechanism" in the Chinese bi-lateral agreement that permits the US and China to negotiate new bilateral quotas in cases where market disruption can be shown, and if that is not successful, the US may impose unilateral quotas. Secondly, the industry officials say the US should not agree to inclusion of so-called Tariff Preference Levels (TPLs) in future bi-lateral or regional trade agreements. TPLs permit a given amount of imports from third countries, not parties to the agreement, to enjoy the duty-free treatment given products made in the participating countries. Finally, the new coalition will seek government action urging the Chinese government to correct a currency imbalance, which they say amounts to a 40 percent price advantage for the Chinese. At a news conference announcing the new effort, the coalition released a report from ATMI (Download the ATMI report here.) that says unless the US government acts, China will gain control of between 65 percent and 75 percent of the US apparel market once quotas on Chinese imports are removed on January l, 2005. The report claims this will "destroy the U.S. textile and apparel industries." In a press release issued at the news conference, the coalition said: From twelve months ending in March 2002 to twelve months ending in March 2003, the U.S. government has stood by while Chinas textile and apparel exports to the United States have surged 140%, the biggest increase in history. During the same one year period, the U.S. textile industry closed more than fifty plants and more than 40,000 textile workers lost their jobs. U.S. trade policy toward China is the most important factor leading to the bankruptcy of many of the nations largest textile companies, the closure of hundreds of textile and apparel plants, and the loss of 267,700 textile and apparel industry jobs from January 2001 to May 2003.Moreover, despite pleas by the U.S. textile industry and dozens of other manufacturing groups, the U.S. government has refused to move against Chinas illegal currency regime that gives its exports a 40% price advantage over U.S. manufactured goods. At a time when U.S. manufacturing has experienced its sharpest falloff in employment since the Great Depression, Chinese exports of manufactured goods have reached record highs. To secure congressional passage of trade promotion authority (TPA), numerous Administration officials made promises to the U.S. textile industry. President Bush even issued a statement on December 6, 2001, saying, "In short, I intend to ensure that the interests of our textile industry and workers are at the heart of our trade negotiations." With the textile industry in crisis and in light of the highly damaging textile bilateral agreement with Vietnam, among other actions, it is critical that the Administration fulfill its commitments made to the industry in 2001. The six organizations represented above view the full and aggressive implementation of the special textile China safeguard as one "litmus test" as to whether those commitments have been fulfilled.Allen Gant, ATMI Second Vice Chairman and CEO of Glen Raven Mills said, "When Japan and Australia eliminated their textile quotas, Chinese exports quickly cornered 75% of the market. Unless the U.S. government acts decisively before Chinas textile quotas expire in January 2005, Chinese exports undoubtedly will dominate the U.S. market in a similar fashion eviscerating the U.S. textile industry. Concluded Jonathan Stevens, NTA Vice Chairman and President of Ames Textile Corp., "Chinas massive surge into the market will render all U.S. trade agreements with Western Hemisphere countries obsolete and cause the loss of millions of textile jobs from Chile to Canada and every country in between."TEXTILE SUMMIT ATTENDEESATMI Press Contact Info:Cass Johnson (202) 862-0545, cjohnson@atmi.org,www.atmi.orgATMI Summit Attendees:Billy Moore, ATMI Chairman and Executive Vice President for Governmental and Investor Relations of Unifi, Inc. located in Greensboro, N,C.; Allen Gant, ATMI Second Vice-Chairman and CEO of Glen Raven Mills located in Glen Raven, N.C.; Parks Shackleford, ATMI President, Washington, DC;Cass Johnson, ATMI Senior Vice President, Washington, DCAYSA Press Contact Info:Mike Hubbard (704) 824-3522, mshaysa@aol.com,www.aysa.orgAYSA Summit Attendees:##Jim Chesnutt AYSA President and President/CEO of National Spinning Company located in Washington, N.C.; George Moretz AYSA Man-Made Fiber Committee Chairman of Carolina Mills located in Maiden, N.C.; *Mike Hubbard AYSA Exec. Vice President, Gastonia, NC.NCC Press Contact Info:Marjory Walker (800) 377-9030, mwalker@cotton.org,www.cotton.orgNCC Summit Attendees:Kenneth Hood NCC Past Chairman, Gunnison, MS; Gaylon Booker NCC Immediate Past President, Memphis TN; John Maguire NCC Senior Vice President for Washington Affairs, Washington, DCNTA Press Contact:David Trumbull (617) 542-8220 x 2, dtrumbull@nationaltextile.org, www.nationaltextile.orgNTA Summit Attendees:Jonathan Stevens NTA Vice Chairman and President of Ames Textile Corp. located in Lowell, MA; James Robbins NTA Vice President and President of Elastic Fabrics of America located in Greensboro, NC; Karl Spilhaus NTA President, Boston, MAAMTAC Press Contact Info:Lloyd Wood (202) 452-8493 or (703) 307-7662 (cell), lwood@amtacdc.org,www.amatacdc.orgAMTAC Summit Attendees:Roger Milliken AMTAC Co-Chair and CEO of MillikenandCo. located in Spartanburg, SC; *George Shuster AMTAC Co-Chair and CEO of Cranston Print Works located in Cranston, RI; Augustine Tantillo AMTAC Washington Coordinator AFMA Press Contact Info:Paul ODay 703-875-0432, oday@afma.org,www.afma.orgAFMA Summit Attendees:Geoff Schofield AFMA President of Drake Extrusion Inc. located in Ridgeway, VA; Paul ODay AFMA President, Arlington, VAAlso Attending:Jerry Rowland CEO of National Textiles located in Winston-Salem, NC; Jock Nash Washington Counsel, MillikenandCo.* Attended meeting via conference call.## Mr. Chesnutt is also ATMI Fist Vice Chairman. By James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent June 2003