U.S. Textile Executives Highlight Industry’s Importance; Underscore Challenges & Policy Priorities During Visit By USTR’s Chief Textiles And Apparel Negotiator

WASHINGTON — June 12, 2024 — Several National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) member companies hosted the newly named U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) Chief Textiles and Apparel Negotiator Katherine White at their North Carolina facilities Tuesday and Wednesday as industry leaders provided insights into their state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities and the impact of trade policies on this vital domestic supply chain and local communities.

During White’s inaugural visit to a key hub of American textile manufacturing, U.S. textile executives spanning the fiber, yarn, fabric and finished product textile and apparel industry demonstrated he industry’s innovations and advances in U.S. manufacturing and illustrated the industry’s important contribution to the U.S. economy.

White’s visit comes at a pivotal time for the U.S. textile supply chain, which produced $64.8 billion in output in 2023 and employed more than 500,000 workers. The industry is a key contributor to our national defense and supplies over 8,000 products a year to the U.S. military as well as critical personal protective equipment (PPE) items for national health and safety.

However, the industry is facing severe economic headwinds due to a multitude of economic factors, supercharged predatory trade practices by foreign competitors and insufficient enforcement of trade laws and free trade agreements.

Textile leaders helped provide context about the state of the industry and highlighted the opportunities and challenges confronting it. In total, White visited six U.S. textile plants, including American & Efird, Parkdale Mills/U.S. Cotton, TSG Finishing, Shuford Yarns, Schneider Mills and Unifi.

White also participated in an industry roundtable at Gaston College Textile Technology Center, at which executives discussed the competitiveness of the domestic industry and outlined urgent priority issues in Washington.

The industry continued to press for: increasing Section 301 China tariffs on finished textile and apparel imports; closing the de minimis loophole; expanding the Western Hemisphere co-production chain and maintaining the yarn forward rule of origin, stepped up customs enforcement of textile and free trade agreement enforcement and penalties, and ways to support domestic supply chains through Buy American and Berry Amendment policies that help to onshore production, spur investment, maintain the safety and security of  U.S. armed forces and generate new jobs.

Chief Textiles and Apparel Negotiator White said: “I want to thank NCTO President and CEO Kim Glas for hosting USTR in North Carolina for a tour of domestic textile manufacturers. I look forward to hearing from textile companies about the challenges they face in their day-to-day operations as we seek ways to enhance the resilience of critical American industries.

“President Biden and Ambassador Tai are committed to a trade policy agenda that levels the playing field for our domestic industries and workers, so they have the tools they need to compete in today’s global economy,” she added.

NCTO President and CEO Kim Glas said: “We want to sincerely thank Katie, who is taking on the role as chief textiles and apparel negotiator at a critical time for this industry. We appreciate her first visit in the new role is to see and meet with our industry first-hand. The U.S. textile industry is one of the most dynamic, innovative industries in the U.S. economy and our co-production chain with our Western Hemisphere trade partners is essential. Trade policies are critical to this manufacturing sector and workforce.

“Predatory trade practices employed by China and other countries are harming the domestic textile supply chain and our Western Hemisphere trade partners, and our industry is calling for urgent action by our government to address them head on. We are in an urgent economic situation where these serious issues the industry is facing need to be resolved immediately. We believe USTR’s development of supply chain resilience policies is a strong step in the right direction for helping secure the U.S. textile supply chain into the future. We look forward to working closely with Katie and Ambassador Katherine Tai to advance policies that bolster our domestic production,” Glas added.

Posted: June 12, 2024

Source: The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO)