NCTO Thanks Textile District Representatives For Opposition On Korea Free Trade Agreement

WASHINGTON — October 13, 2011 — The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) thanked the 52
members of Congress, who accounted for one third of the overall opposition to the bill, for putting
textile workers first and voting “NO” on the Korea FTA. Two-thirds of the House Textile Caucus – 44
members – voted against the bill and were joined by eight other members with textile interests.

“The resounding “NO” vote from representatives with textile workers in their districts is
greatly appreciated by the textile industry and their workers. We want to particularly thank
Congressmen Larry Kissell (D-NC) and Howard Coble (R-NC), the chairs of the House Textile Caucus
for leading this effort,” said Cass Johnson, President, NCTO. “In addition NCTO would like to
recognize the leadership of Congressmen Walter Jones (R-NC) and Mike Michaud (D-ME) in opposing
this poorly negotiated agreement.”

U.S. textile workers delivered nearly 27,000 petitions to their Members of Congress urging
them to vote “No” on the U.S.-Korea FTA.

The textile industry opposed the Korea FTA because critical enforcement measures were removed
from the agreement, creating an easy gateway for low priced Chinese goods to be illegally
transshipped through Korea. U.S. Customs experts have warned the Administration and Congress that
billions of dollars of illegal Chinese goods would flow through Korea if the enforcement provisions
in the agreement were not fixed. In addition, the Korea FTA phased out duties on many sensitive
textile products that are important products for U.S. producers and our trading partners in NAFTA,
CAFTA, and Andean regions. The phase out schedule provided Korean exporters with greater access to
U.S. markets while U.S. textile companies must wait years for equal access into the Korean market.
This included products that the textile industry supplies to the U.S. military.

“The industry is particularly heartened because both the Administration and the Republican
leadership supported the bill and yet so many members chose to side with saving textile jobs and
textile production in their districts and around the country. Their dedication to the industry
sends a strong message that the textile enforcement and market access rules in the Trans Pacific
Partnership (TPP) must strengthened and cannot be a copy cat of the flawed Korean text,” Johnson

Johnson noted the U.S. textile industry has been growing jobs and exports, with four new
plants opened in the last year and half, exports up 17 percent and nearly 4,000 new jobs added. “We
want to ensure that free trade agreements actually support increasing exports and increasing
textile jobs in this country. We will strongly support agreements that provide an equal playing
field for the beneficiary country, but will strongly oppose those that don’t.”

Regarding the problem of textile customs fraud, Johnson also noted that textile supporters in
the House and Senate have reintroduced the Textile Enforcement and Security Act (TESA). He said,
“The Korea textile debate has highlighted that weak customs rules and declining resources and focus
in textile enforcement by Customs and Border Protection is unacceptable. The TESA bill contains
many elements which will help to stop the growing problem of textile fraud, which costs thousands
of U.S. jobs and deprives the U.S. Treasury of precious revenue. The industry looks forward to
working with Congress to make sure this bill is passed during the current session.”

Johnson concluded, “The industry is also gratified that members from textile districts
strongly supported the Colombia FTA. The Colombia FTA contained none of the errors that were
included in the Korea FTA and its passage will help to restore a thriving export business in
textile products from the United States.”

Posted on October 18, 2011

Source: NCTO