National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) Vice Chairman David Hastings has urged the House
Committee on Ways and Means not to extend duty-free preferences in textiles to Bangladesh and
Cambodia nor change textile preference rules in any way that might further exacerbate the loss of
US jobs. Hastings presented his testimony during hearings the committee was conducting on trade
To stress the urgency of his plea, Hastings, CEO of Mauldin, S.C.-based textile manufacturer
Mount Vernon Mills Inc., relayed the example of his company’s recent offering of jobs at its Trion,
Ga., facility, which, with more than 1,100 workers, is the company’s largest textile plant and
manufactures products that are exported to Western Hemisphere countries under existing preference
and free trade agreement programs.
“Eleven days ago, on November 7th, Mount Vernon announced that there were several job
openings at the Trion plant and people began lining up outside the plant at 4 a.m. that morning
just to apply. By noon, we had taken 270 applications from people looking for work,” he said,
pointing out that the same scenario has been repeated elsewhere nationwide and “is indicative of
the weakness of the US economy. Mister Chairman, our workers are hurting in this country and I
strongly urge the Subcommittee to keep in mind that our country and our manufacturing sector [are]
hurting badly,” he said.
Among other points, Hastings also warned that additional textile industry job losses could
adversely impact US Department of Defense procurement of US-made textile products, noting as an
example that the Trion plant provides a large portion of those products, but that they represent
only a part of the plant’s total production.
Hastings’ testimony will be reported on further next week in Jim Morrissey’s weekly report
posted on www.TextileWorld.com.
November 17, 2009