WASHINGTON — October 12, 2011 — U.S. Senators Kay R. Hagan (D-NC) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) today
reintroduced their bipartisan bill to crack down on fraud and illegal trade practices that damage
the American textiles industry. The Textile Enforcement and Security Act (TESA) will beef up
enforcement and oversight on the trade of textiles and apparels. Textiles and apparels, which have
both suffered from increases in illegal trafficking and duty evasion, have the highest fraud
ranking of any industrial products in the United States.
“With North Carolina’s unemployment rate at an unacceptably high 10.4 percent, I refuse to
allow one of my state’s biggest industries to be handicapped by an inability to enforce proper
trade rules,” said Hagan, co-chair of the Senate Textile Caucus. “Thousands of North Carolinians
are employed by the textiles sector, and they produce some of the best products in the world. This
bipartisan bill ensures our country has the resources needed to fight the fraud that undermines
North Carolina textile mills. I look forward to working with Senator Graham and all of my
colleagues to pass this pro-jobs bill as soon as possible.”
“I’m proud to join Senator Hagan on a new and improved Textile Enforcement and Security Act,”
said Graham. “This common sense bill will add significant protection for textile workers by
strengthening existing customs enforcement mechanisms and creating new tools to combat fraud. We
owe it to the hard working men and women of the textile industry to protect their product against
those who seek to take advantage of lax enforcement. This bill does exactly that, and I look
forward to seeing its provisions become law.”
The U.S. textile industry is the world’s third largest textile exporter, and it relies on
proper customs enforcement to protect American businesses and jobs. Close to three quarters of the
industry’s $19 billion in exports last year went to countries where the U.S. has a trade agreement
in place. But the industry has seen a sharp increase in illegal trafficking as well as duty evasion
in many of these countries through undervaluation, mislabeling and the use of phony companies
posing as U.S. companies. It is estimated that up to $1 billion in revenue is lost each year due to
this type of customs fraud.
Specifically, the Textile Enforcement and Security Act will:
· Establish an electronic verification program that tracks yarn and fabric imports in
countries operating under free trade agreements;
· Increase the number of textile and apparel verification specialists at the 15 largest U.S.
ports that process textile and apparel imports;
· Increase textile staff at the Customs and Border Protection Agency headquarters and
retarget them toward trade preference verifications. Headquarters staff has been significantly
reduced over the last five years.
· Require the publication of a list of fraudulent actors in this field.
· Creates a centralized database for new importers and allows the Customs and Border
Protection Agency to adjust bond requirements for high risk importers of textile and apparel goods.
Posted on October 18, 2011
Source: Kay Hagan, U.S. Senator for North Carolina