NCTO Presses For PPE “Buy American” Policy

The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), Washington, is urging the U.S. government to institute a “Buy American” policy for personal protective equipment (PPE). Such a policy would support U.S. manufacturing and provide an incentive for manufacturers to invest in PPE supplies and equipment to supply the front-line workers in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If the government is sincere about reconstituting a U.S. production chain for medical PPE to resolve the drastic shortages we are experiencing during the current pandemic, it is going to have to make key policy changes to help incentivize domestic production,” said Kim Glas, president and CEO, NCTO. “A strong Buy America mandate for these vital healthcare materials needs to be instituted for all federal agencies, coupled with other reasonable production incentives, to help ensure a strong U.S. manufacturing base for these essential products.”

Glas notes that the existing Buy American rule for military textiles in place at the U.S. Department of Defense ensures “the vital textile materials our U.S. warfighters depend upon, come from a secure domestic production chain that cannot be severed during a military emergency by offshore entities.” The rule also serves as a model example of such a mandate.

“Expanding domestic purchase requirements through Executive Order and other legislative initiatives will ensure that PPE production through U.S. supply chains that have been created overnight, don’t evaporate as soon as this crisis is over,” Glas said.

“ … If our country is to be prepared for future deadly pandemics such as the one it is now facing, reasonable policy changes need to be implemented to ensure that we strengthen our domestic supply chain to address America’s security, safety and healthcare requirements.”

May/June 2020