Congress Approves Textile Buy America Legislation

Congress Approves Textile Buy America LegislationCongress has approved a national defense
authorization bill that continues and expands the requirement for defense agencies to buy
American-made textiles and apparel. The action still has to go through the appropriation process,
but the authorization is an important first step that preserves the textile industrys coveted
Berry-Hefner amendment. It mandates the defense department to buy textiles and apparel of
100-percent domestic content wherever possible. There are loopholes that permit some foreign
sourcing, but the act tends to strengthen domestic companies that do business with the military.In
addition to the Berry-Hefner purchasing requirements, this years version of the legislation creates
a Defense Industrial Base Capabilities fund to help develop capabilities for the production of
components that are critical to the operation of military systems. It establishes an incentive
program for US defense contractors to buy US machine tools, and it directs the secretary of defense
to identify all critical components and the capability of manufacturers to produce them. It also
provides for use of a defense department data base to report levels of foreign procurement and
market sectors that are impacted, and it calls for elimination of purchases in foreign countries
that refuse to deliver military products because of US counter intelligence or military
operations..Auggie Tantillo, Washington Coordinator for the American Manufacturing Trade Action
Coalition (AMTAC) said the congressional action is a good first step in ensuring military
preparedness as it helps support a reliable domestic source for essential military goods. He said,
however, that AMTAC will continue to work with Congress on further expansion of the Buy America
act. The industry has been pressing to have those provisions added to Department of Home Security
purchases, but that has not happened.By James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent
November 2003