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From The Editor
James M. Borneman, Editor In Chief

Textile Platform Emerges

James M. Borneman, Editor In Chief

C iting record trade deficits, declining US manufacturing jobs, surging imports and a host of trade-based inequities — a unified textile leadership recently met and took a step forward, proposing a 2004 political platform for the industry.

With Allen Gant, president of Glen Raven Mills Inc., leading the charge, supported by more than two dozen of the industry’s most significant leaders, the message is clear — US manufacturing is in critical condition. If you work in manufacturing, or your business depends on manufacturing in your community, your job, career and/or business are in jeapordy. Learn why manufacturing is disappearing, press your state and national candidates for answers, and — most importantly — vote.

The platform, adopted by the leaders of a unified textile and fiber industry, calls on candidates to abide by the following in support of US manufacturing:
• COMMIT to the continuation of quota restraints on Chinese imports of textiles and apparel.
• SUPPORT enhancements to an extension of the Berry Amendment and other federal buy-American purchase requirements.
• OPPOSE free trade agreements that contain unnecessary loopholes to the requirement to use signatory fiber; yarn; thread; fabric; and fabric dyeing, finishing and printing.
• OPPOSE any reduction of US textile and apparel tariffs through the World Trade Organization and any weakening of US trade laws regarding unfair trade practices.
• SUPPORT full enforcement of US trade laws to aggressively address illegal trade activities and remedy violations.

With a national press contingent on hand at the meeting, it was impressive to see a unified industry present a solid case that moved beyond typical trade rhetoric and focused like a laser on jobs and the future of the US economy. Several leaders handled questions on trade and spoke of the international aspect of the industry, the importance of trade and the need for trade law enforcement.

A recent General Accounting Office (GAO) study supports the industry position on violation of transshipment laws — in short, declaring the overall ineffectiveness of Customs and Border Patrol enforcement, coupled with the ineffectiveness of the prosecution process.

With a political road strewn with broken promises, many believe the elections of 2004 hold the future of US manufacturing in the balance. Only time will tell which candidates can move away from past failure and lip service, and focus on the future of manufacturing in the United States.

February 2004