Multi-Association Response to New York Times Report on DLA Contract Awards

Washington, D.C. –The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), Warrior Protection & Readiness Coalition (WPRC), American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), U.S. Industrial Fabrics Institute and the Narrow Fabrics Institute of the Industrial Fabrics Association International (USIFI/NFI), Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry (INDA), and The Association & Voice of the U.S. Sewn Products Industry (SEAMS), representing the full spectrum of the domestic textile, nonwovens, and sewn products industries issued the following joint statement in response to the New York Times investigative report on the Department of Defense Logistics Agency’s (DLA) awarding of over $1 billion in contracts for over 83 million disposable and reusable medical gowns for the Strategic National Stockpile replenishment.

We are concerned by the report published today by the New York Times indicating that certain medical gown awardees who received multi-million dollar contracts may not have the capabilities and proficiencies to manufacture U.S.-made, Berry-compliant products to support the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) needs of the Strategic National Stockpile.  While we have a strong historic working relationship with Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), a relationship we value as an industry, this report raises serious questions about the vetting procedures and purchase criteria utilized by DLA in this process.

With this in mind, we respectfully request that the administration move forward and conduct a full and transparent independent review. Specifically, we have requested the following:

  • Request onsite verification for all awardees and verification of their production chains to help ensure integrity in the process.  This verification will help ensure that this essential PPE needed by front-line workers is using 100% American materials and workmanship, one of the critical requirements that was established by DLA as it awarded these for these products.  
  • Request DLA test the gowns independently to ensure compliance with required performance standards and other specifications and to ensure the health and safety of our front-line workers who will rely upon these items years from now.
  • Review the utility of the “Lowest Price Technically Acceptable” criteria associated with these awards and urge the government to move forward with a purchase mechanism for “Best Value” that ensures quality products are procured at competitive pricing.

It is important to state that we are aware that some of the awardees are very legitimate and capable suppliers. We want to ensure all verified legitimate producers are allowed to move their production forward for these essential PPE items. These companies and their workforce should not be hindered in this process. For those who are not compliant, we request the government take the necessary appropriate action and give compliant and capable producers an opportunity to supply these critically needed items.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the entire U.S. industry, from fiber to apparel producers, has played an enormous role in helping address America’s PPE crisis, retooling production lines overnight.  The work of our industry has been noted at the highest levels of government and our domestic supply chain is extremely proud to provide this critical service to the nation. We have jointly been calling on the administration to fully maximize U.S. manufacturing assets to put our industry to work making quality, compliant PPE. We are strong supporters of the Berry Amendment and were very pleased that DLA expressed an intention to maximize the industrial base with this purchase. We also are very aware that there are winners and losers in any competitive bid process.

However, when DLA announced the awards in mid-September, our industry associations immediately raised cautionary flags, as to the domestic manufacturing capacity, technical proficiency and capabilities of certain awardees and their overall compliance. The Berry Amendment, a cornerstone of our defense industrial base, requires the use of complying fiber, yarn, fabric, and assembly be performed in the United States.  Further magnifying that concern, DLA stated it had awarded over 83 million gowns to the “domestic industrial base.” However, with the exception of a few awardees there were questions that were raised about the places of performance (location for product final assembly), whether the materials being utilized are Berry compliant, and whether the gowns meet the technical specifications. Certain places of performance appeared to lack the workforce necessary for these larger orders or the equipment or space required.  This is why an immediate and independent review is required.

Many of these strong concerns were raised directly with DLA in a multi-association letter on September 18th.  Given our strong working relationship with the DLA over several decades, we felt it was important to reach out to them directly with our concerns. The response we received from DLA is that the government simply requires awardees to self-certify domestic production and Berry compliance.  Self-certification of such sizable awards to non-traditional suppliers appears to be a serious flaw in the process that must be re-examined. 

The domestic supply chain, representing nearly 600,000 American workers, wants nothing more than to be a resource for the federal government. We can help the U.S. government better understand production chains and manufacturing capabilities.  We stand absolutely ready, willing, and able to manufacture the products the U.S. government needs for the Strategic National Stockpile and at the same time put our idle capacity and workforce to work.  We are strong supporters of onshoring the domestic production chain and believe the federal government is a critical partner in that effort.

We ask the U.S. government to immediately address this matter and take necessary actions regarding any non-compliant awardees. Simultaneously, we urge the administration to move forward with legitimate, compliant, and capable awardees – these companies and their workforce should not be punished, they should be maximized.  It is critical that the Strategic National Stockpile is replenished immediately, and we stand ready to be part of that solution. Our American health care workers deserve no less.

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PRESS CONTACTS

NCTO

Kristi Ellis

(202) 684-3091

www.ncto.org

AAFA

Natalie LaBella

(202) 853-9348

media@aafaglobal.org

WPRC

David Costello

(617) 875-2492

david.costello@warriorprotection.net

USIFI/NFI

Janelle Wells Buerkley

(651) 225-6948

jwbuerkley@ifai.com

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NCTO Supports House Resolution Opposing Expansion of Generalized System of Preferences Program (GSP) to Include Apparel, Textiles, Footwear

WASHINGTON, DC –The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), representing the full spectrum of U.S. textiles, from fiber to finished sewn products, voiced strong support for a House resolution opposing the inclusion of apparel, textile and footwear products in the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program.

“I want to thank Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ) and Congressman Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA) and Congressman Mario  Diaz-Balart (R-FL) for introducing this important resolution, which expressly opposes the expansion of GSP to include apparel, textiles and footwear. Such a move would not only jeopardize the U.S. textile industry but also erode the critically negotiated trade preferences between the United States and our trading partners,” said NCTO President and CEO Kim Glas.

“In designing the GSP program 45 years ago, Congress intentionally excluded import-sensitive items to prevent domestic industries from being adversely impacted.

“An expansion of GSP for such imported products would put at risk the entire U.S. apparel and textile industry and its workforce – not to mention its $77 billion in annual output, $30 billion in annual exports and $20 billion in investment over the last decade,” Glas said.

“Further, it would undermine our free trade agreements in the Western Hemisphere, a critical export market for U.S. textiles that supports two million direct jobs. The Western Hemisphere accounts for 70 percent of apparel and textile exports and $35 million in two-way trade. We can’t thank all of the co-sponsors enough for their tremendous leadership on this issue and we support this critical resolution.

The resolution underscores how expanding GSP would impact Western Hemisphere trade and undermine trade preference benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).”

Please view the full resolutionhere.

To see NCTO’s position on GSP, please see our Op-Ed here.

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NCTO is a Washington, DC-based trade association that represents domestic textile manufacturers, including artificial and synthetic filament and fiber producers. 

  • U.S. employment in the textile supply chain was 585,240 in 2019. 
  • The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $75.8 billion in 2019. 
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $29.1 billion in 2019. 
  • Capital expenditures for textile and apparel production totaled $2.5 billion in 2018, the last year for which data is available.

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 CONTACT: Kristi Ellis

(202) 684-3091

www.ncto.org

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NCTO Welcomes Administration’s Section 301 Investigation into Vietnam’s Currency Practices

WASHINGTON—The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), representing the full spectrum of U.S. textiles, from fiber through finished sewn products, welcomes the Trump administration’s recent announcement of the launch of a Section 301 investigation into the currency valuation practices of Vietnam.

“NCTO strongly opposes foreign governments undervaluing their currencies, which puts U.S. manufacturers at a disadvantage by inflating the cost of U.S. exports and deflating the cost of U.S. imports.  This unfair trade practice displaces U.S. production and jobs, as well as those of our Western Hemisphere trade partners utilizing U.S. textile inputs,” said NCTO President and CEO Kim Glas.

“The U.S.-Vietnam trading relationship suffers from many of the same problems that we have experienced with China. There are strong indications of a purposefully undervalued currency that warrants a full investigation.  Further, the industries in the two countries are inextricably linked, as Vietnam sources much of its textile inputs from China,” Glas added.

In 2019, the U.S. trade deficit with Vietnam stood at $55.8 billion, including a $14.6 billion deficit in textiles and apparel specifically.  Vietnam has demonstrated tremendous growth in the U.S. textile and apparel market and is the second largest supplier after China, holding a 15.8% import market share for January-July 2020.

“Scrutinizing unfair practices such as currency undervaluation by Vietnam is one more action the administration can take to eliminate predatory trade practices by countries that continuously undermine domestic production and that of our free trade partners.  Strong trade enforcement is key to leveling the playing field.

With so much discussion about onshoring production, including personal protective equipment (PPE), we believe this investigation is necessary, and we look forward to further opportunities to provide input as part of the formal investigation process.”

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NCTO is a Washington, DC-based trade association that represents domestic textile manufacturers, including artificial and synthetic filament and fiber producers. 

  • U.S. employment in the textile supply chain was 585,240 in 2019. 
  • The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $75.8 billion in 2019. 
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $29.1 billion in 2019. 
  • Capital expenditures for textile and apparel production totaled $2.5 billion in 2018, the last year for which data is available.

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CONTACT: Kristi Ellis

Vice President, Communications

National Council of Textile Organizations

kellis@ncto.org  |  202.684.3091

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NCTO President & CEO Kim Glas Testifies at U.S. International Trade Commission Hearing on Challenges Related to U.S. PPE...

WASHINGTON, DC –The U.S. International Trade Commission held a public hearing on September 23-24 as part of its investigation of conditions impacting U.S. industry sectors and supply chains in the production of medical goods related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) President & CEO Kim Glas is testifying on panel 5 today, the hearing’s second day.

“Amid the devastating challenges of responding to COVID-19, NCTO members have been at the forefront of deploying manufacturing resources to address the critical need for personal protective equipment (PPE),” Glas said in testimony prepared for delivery.  “Our members quickly mobilized, proactively retooling production lines and retraining workers to provide U.S.-made PPE to frontline medical workers.”

“Despite these heroic efforts to confront the ongoing crisis, the onshoring of a permanent PPE industry will only materialize if proper government policies are implemented to incentivize the long-term investment needed to sustain PPE production in the United States,” Glas said.

Glas’ testimony as prepared for delivery can be found here.

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NCTO is a Washington, DC-based trade association that represents domestic textile manufacturers, including artificial and synthetic filament and fiber producers.

  • U.S. employment in the textile supply chain was 585,240 in 2019.
  • The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $75.8 billion in 2019.
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $29.1 billion in 2019.
  • Capital expenditures for textile and apparel production totaled $2.5 billion in 2018, the last year for which data is available.

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CONTACT: Kristi Ellis

(202) 684-3091

www.ncto.org

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NCTO Launches Video Campaign Showcasing Textile Industry Response to PPE Crisis

WASHINGTON—The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), representing the full spectrum of U.S. textiles, from fiber through finished sewn products, launched a paid social media video campaign today, highlighting the extraordinary efforts the industry has taken to respond to the shortages of lifesaving personal protective equipment (PPE) spawned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“NCTO is launching a social media and email campaign today to show members of Congress how this industry has significantly contributed to the nation’s PPE crisis, while demonstrating the importance of immediate policies and legislation, such as Buy American mandates, to establish a sustainable domestic supply chain for the future,” said NCTO President and CEO Kim Glas.

“Our campaign underscores the importance of ending our over reliance on China for PPE and calls on Congress to craft policies that support domestic procurement requirements and the onshoring of jobs,” Glas added. “It is high time we had a national strategic plan in place to spur investment in the industry and ensure our country has a permanent domestic PPE supply chain to confront the next pandemic our country faces.”

To view the video, textile worker profiles and Call to Action for members of Congress, and their staff, and manufacturers and employees, please click here.

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NCTO is a Washington, DC-based trade association that represents domestic textile manufacturers, including artificial and synthetic filament and fiber producers. 

  • U.S. employment in the textile supply chain was 585,240 in 2019. 
  • The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $75.8 billion in 2019. 
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $29.1 billion in 2019. 
  • Capital expenditures for textile and apparel production totaled $2.5 billion in 2018, the last year for which data is available.

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CONTACT:

Kristi Ellis

Vice President, Communications

National Council of Textile Organizations

kellis@ncto.org  |  202.684.3091

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NCTO Sends Letter to Lead House & Senate Committee Members in Support of Congressional Action Addressing Forced Labor in...

WASHINGTON—The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), representing the full spectrum of U.S. textiles, from fiber though finished sewn products, sent a letter to the chairs and ranking members of the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee today, in support of congressional efforts to address China’s use of forced labor.

The House Ways and Means Committee’s Subcommittee on Trade is holding a hearing today at noon on this important issue.

NCTO sent the letter to House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) and Ranking member Kevin Brady (R-Texas), Senate Finance Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)

See the full letter here.

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NCTO is a Washington, DC-based trade association that represents domestic textile manufacturers, including artificial and synthetic filament and fiber producers. 

  • U.S. employment in the textile supply chain was 585,240 in 2019. 
  • The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $75.8 billion in 2019. 
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $29.1 billion in 2019. 
  • Capital expenditures for textile and apparel production totaled $2.5 billion in 2018, the last year for which data is available.

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Kristi Ellis

Vice President, Communications

National Council of Textile Organizations

kellis@ncto.org  |  202.684.3091

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National Council of Textile Organizations and National Cotton Council Send Letter to Lead House & Senate Committee Members in...

WASHINGTON—The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) and National Cotton Council (NCC)  sent a letter today to the chairs and ranking members of two key congressional committees today, voicing support for a timely  extension of the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA), which expires on Sept. 30.  The House Ways and Means Committee’s Subcommittee on Trade is holding a hearing on Thursday at 2:00 PM on this important trade preference program.

The CBTPA has provided a structured system of textile and apparel duty preferences for certain countries– most notably Haiti– since it was implemented in 2000. U.S. textile and cotton industries see significant benefits from the program, which has helped establish an export market for U.S.-grown cotton, U.S.-spun yarn and other textile materials of U.S. origin.

The U.S. content rule contained in CBTPA provides a mutual benefit to the U.S. industry and the Caribbean Basin region economies.

The associations’ support is contingent upon the trade program not being tied to other unrelated and harmful trade and tariff provisions as noted in their joint letter.

The NCTO and NCC sent the letter to House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) and Ranking member Kevin Brady (R-Texas), Senate Finance Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)

See the full letter here.

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NCTO is a Washington, DC-based trade association that represents domestic textile manufacturers, including artificial and synthetic filament and fiber producers. 

  • U.S. employment in the textile supply chain was 585,240 in 2019. 
  • The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $75.8 billion in 2019. 
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $29.1 billion in 2019. 
  • Capital expenditures for textile and apparel production totaled $2.5 billion in 2018, the last year for which data is available.

As the unifying force of the U.S. cotton industry, the Memphis-based National Cotton Council has a mission of ensuring the ability of all industry segments to compete effectively and profitably in the raw cotton, oilseed and U.S.-manufactured product markets at home and abroad.

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PRESS CONTACTS:

National Council of Textile Organizations

Kristi Ellis

kellis@ncto.org  |  202.684.3091

National Cotton Council

Marjory L. Walker

mwalker@cotton.org (901) 274-9030

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NCTO President & CEO Kim Glas Testifies at House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Hearing on COVID-19 Crisis

WASHINGTON, DC – National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) President and CEO Kim Glas is testifying today at the House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee hearing on “Manufacturing and Critical Supply Chains: Lessons From COVID-19.”

“While domestic textile manufacturers have undertaken heroic efforts to confront the ongoing crisis, the onshoring of a permanent PPE industry will only materialize if proper government policies and other actions are put in place to help domestic manufacturers survive the current economic crisis and to incentivize the long-term investment needed to fully bring PPE production back to the United States,” Glas said in testimony submitted to the subcommittee found here.

Glas outlined policy recommendations and concrete steps the government should take to address the long-term and short-term needs of frontline health care workers, patients and the general public.

“The time is ripe for a revival of American PPE textile manufacturing. It has already begun, but we are at a pivotal point. Without the necessary policy response and support, our recent progress will be undone just as quickly, and the China stranglehold over global medical textile supply will be locked in for the foreseeable future with no reason to invest here,” Glas said.

“The U.S. textile and apparel industry is ready, willing, and able to supply our country’s PPE needs now and for what lies ahead,” she added.

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NCTO is a Washington, DC-based trade association that represents domestic textile manufacturers, including artificial and synthetic filament and fiber producers.

  • U.S. employment in the textile supply chain was 585,240 in 2019.
  • The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $75.8 billion in 2019.
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $29.1 billion in 2019.
  • Capital expenditures for textile and apparel production totaled $2.5 billion in 2018, the last year for which data is available.

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CONTACT: Kristi Ellis

202.684.3091

www.ncto.org

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INDUSTRY COALITION RELEASES STATEMENT ON PPE POLICY

WASHINGTON—An industry coalition representing the full spectrum of domestic personal protective equipment (PPE) production released a statement today outlining policy principles and objectives needed for reshoring and safeguarding domestic PPE manufacturing.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which exposed severe shortages in our nation’s PPE supply and an overreliance on foreign sourced products, underscores how important it is for the U.S. government to incentivize, support and maintain domestic manufacturing capacity for PPE.

Our association members, encompassing every segment of the U.S. textile, apparel and PPE supply chain, as well as unions representing workers, acted swiftly to convert manufacturing facilities and build supply chains virtually overnight to produce desperately needed PPE.

“We are united in our support of important principles that must be adopted in order to address our current public health needs and guarantee our nation is better prepared to respond to future emergencies,” the 21 associations said in the joint statement.

The associations are calling on Congress and the Trump administration to adopt principles outlined in the statement through legislation, executive order and other appropriate means.

See the full joint statement and principles here.

The statement was signed by the following organizations. Please see relevant contacts where provided:

  • AFL-CIO
  • Alliance for American Manufacturing
  • American Iron and Steel Institute
  • American Sheep Institute
  • Coalition for a Prosperous America
  • Georgia Association of Manufacturers
  • Hand Tools Institute
  • INDA: Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry
  • Narrow Fabrics Institute
  • National Cotton Council
  • National Council of Textile Organizations
  • Parachute Industry Association
  • Rhode Island Textile Innovation Network
  • SEAMS: Association of the U.S. Sewn Products Industry
  • SEIU
  • South Carolina Textile Council
  • U.S. Industrial Fabrics Institute
  • United States Footwear Manufacturers Association
  • United Steelworkers
  • Warrior Protection and Readiness Coalition
  • Workers United/SEIU

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MAIN PRESS CONTACT:

NCTO

Kristi Ellis

(202) 684-3091

www.ncto.org

Coalition for a Prosperous America

Melissa Tallman, (202) 688-5145 ext. 3

National Cotton Council

Marjory L. Walker, (901) 274-9030

Rhode Island Textile Innovation Network

Michael M. Woody, (401) 331-8483

SEAMS: Association of the U.S. Sewn Products Industry

Will Duncan, (803) 642-1111

Warrior Protection and Readiness Coalition

David Costello, (617) 875-2492

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NCTO Announces Winner of the 2020 Paul T. O’Day Memorial Scholarship

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Council of Textile Organization’s (NCTO) Fiber Council announces Lauren Biggs of Charlotte, NC as the recipient of the 2020 Paul T. O’Day Scholarship Award.  She is the daughter of Sheila Price and Alexander Graham Biggs, III, who is employed by Unifi, Inc.

Ms. Biggs graduated in June with high honors from Myers Park High School.  She will attend the University of South Carolina entering the program for Computer Science this fall.  She is grateful to the NCTO Paul T. O’Day Scholarship Committee for choosing her as this year’s scholarship recipient stating, “Your generosity is truly humbling and greatly appreciated. Being awarded the Paul T. O’Day Scholarship will make a huge difference in my finances while I work to achieve my goal of becoming a creative problem solver, leader and innovator in the fiber industry just as Mr. O’Day was for so many years.  Thank you again for this honor.  I hope to one day give back to those who gave so much.”

NCTO Fiber Council Chairman David Poston, President of Palmetto Synthetics LLC, commented, “We are pleased to recognize Ms. Biggs’s record of achievements and passion for learning as we name her the 2020 recipient of our Paul T. O’Day Memorial Scholarship.  On behalf of the Fiber Council, we congratulate Ms. Biggs and wish her continued success in her academic career.”

The scholarship program was created in 2014 in honor of Paul T. O’Day who served as President of the American Fiber Manufacturers Association (AFMA) for more than three decades. The Association merged with the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) in April 2018, and NCTO’s Fiber Council now administers the scholarship program.  Recipients receive a $5,000 award each year, totaling $20,000 for four years of study.  Sons or daughters of NCTO’s Fiber Council member company employees are eligible to apply.

NCTO is a Washington, DC-based trade association that represents domestic textile manufacturers, including artificial and synthetic filament and fiber producers. 

  • U.S. employment in the textile supply chain was 585,240 in 2019. 
  • The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $75.8 billion in 2019. 
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $29.1 billion in 2019. 
  • Capital expenditures for textile and apparel production totaled $2.5 billion in 2018, the last year for which data is available.

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CONTACT: Kristi Ellis

(202) 684-3091

www.ncto.org


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