Textile Groups Come Down On Both Sides Of DR-CAFTA

While US textile lobbying organizations are unified over the issue of textile quotas and the threat
Chinese textile imports pose to the US industry, their positions differ when it comes to regional
free trade pacts such as the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA).

The agreement has the endorsement of a coalition of trade associations comprising the NCTO;
National Cotton Council (NCC), Memphis, Tenn.; American Fiber Manufacturers Association, Arlington,
Va.; American Textile Machinery Association, Falls Church, Va.; Carpet and Rug Institute, Dalton,
Ga.; and the Cary, N.C.-based Association of Nonwoven Fabrics Industry. The coalition of textile
manufacturers, fiber producers and suppliers to the US textile industry claims to represent more
than $100 billion in annual production and sales within the US textile sector.

On the other side of the trade divide stands another coalition that includes AMTAC; the
National Textile Association (NTA), Boston; UNITE HERE, New York City; and The Domestic
Manufacturers Committee of The Hosiery Association, Charlotte. This coalition claims to include the
nation’s two largest textile trade groups (AMTAC and NTA), as well as the largest textile and
apparel labor union, among other organizations.

NCTO, NCC, AMTAC and NTA also are members of GAFTT.

US textile exports to the DR-CAFTA region in 2004 totaled more than $5 billion in yarn,
fabric and component parts. The pro-DR-CAFTA coalition believes the pact will offer “new export
opportunities to every US producer interested in these markets.” It also hailed the Bush
administration’s commitment to amend provisions in the agreement regarding cumulation, trade
preference levels and the rule of origin for nonvisible pocketings and linings.

The anti-DR-CAFTA contingent calls the agreement “a job killer just like NAFTA [North
American Free Trade Agreement],” charging that it will lead to further outsourcing of US
manufacturing jobs. It notes US textile and apparel manufacturing employment has shrunk by 890,000
jobs or 57.2 percent since NAFTA went into effect in 1994, and that the value of US textile and
apparel shipments fell from $158 billion in 1995 to $114. billion in 2003.

June 2005