Acting Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Textiles, Dr. Laurie-Ann Agama, Tours U.S. Textile Industry; Participates in Industry Roundtable

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Dr. Laurie-Ann Agama, Acting Assistant U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) for Textiles, wrapped up a three-day visit of state-of-the art U.S. textile manufacturing facilities in North and South Carolina today, highlighting the importance of trade policies that bolster the competitiveness of the vibrant domestic supply chain that contributes significantly to the U.S. economy and workforce.

Dr. Agama, who advises the nation’s top trade chief on textile and apparel trade policy matters and conducts and oversees negotiations affecting textiles and apparel products, was joined by USTR textile trade officials in touring seven textile manufacturers including: Glen Raven, Barnet, Standard Textile, Parkdale Mills, Beverly Knits, Gildan, and Unifi.

Her three-day tour culminated today in an industry roundtable discussion with key textile executives hosted by Unifi, in Greensboro, N.C.

U.S. textile executives spanning the fiber, yarn, fabric, and finished product textile and apparel industries participated in the roundtable and outlined critical policies, such as: the importance of maintaining the yarn forward rule of origin in the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) and other trade agreements; advancing the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) and its importance to domestic manufacturers; closing the de minimis loophole in U.S. trade law; addressing larger systemic trade issues, particularly the use of forced labor, with China; and upholding buy American and Berry Amendment government procurement policies.

“We deeply appreciate Assistant USTR Agama’s visit to the heart of the U.S. textile industry in North and South Carolina this week to meet with U.S. textile executives and experience first-hand the breadth of the industry’s innovation, advanced sustainability practices, capital investments and critical contributions to local economies and the U.S. economy as a whole,” said Kim Glas, president and CEO of NCTO. “The three-day visit by Dr. Agama and the USTR textile team included facility tours of several NCTO member companies, all of which have made major investments in state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities that are part of a broader domestic industry supply chain that produced $65.8 billion in output in 2022 and employed 538,000 workers.”

Glas continued: “We are also grateful for Dr. Agama’s participation in the industry roundtable hosted by Unifi and substantive discussions around policy opportunities and challenges. We look forward to working closely with Dr. Agama, the USTR textile team and U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai to advance policies that provide incentives for onshoring and nearshoring production and bolstering the industry’s competitiveness, while enforcing policies that address illegal trade practices that undermine this industry.”

“The U.S. textile industry has always been resilient, innovative, and a driving force of our nation’s competitiveness,” said Acting Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Textiles Dr. Laurie-Ann Agama. “For USTR, this local engagement and conversations underscore our need to create trade policies that put workers first and promote inclusive economic growth. The spinning, knitting, and weaving operations of the textile industry are at the center of many communities across the Carolinas. This was another opportunity to hear first-hand how we trade can create jobs that allow workers, businesses, and communities to thrive”. 

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NCTO is a Washington, DC-based trade association that represents domestic textile manufacturers.

  • U.S. employment in the textile supply chain was 538,067 in 2022.
  • The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $65.8 billion in 2022.
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $34 billion in 2022.
  • Capital expenditures for textiles and apparel production totaled $2.27 billion in 2021, 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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Bipartisan Group of 38 Lawmakers Sends Letter to Secretary of Commerce Urging Support of Strong CAFTA-DR Rules of Origin...

WASHINGTON –A bipartisan group of 38 lawmakers sent a letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo urging her support of the current rules of origin in the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) that are working to spur significant investment and employment in the region.

The lawmakers also warned that attempts by certain importers to amend the rules would open the back door to China and significantly harm investment in the U.S. -CAFTA region and the vibrant textile and apparel co-production chain in the U.S. and the region, which employs more than one million workers.

“The rules of origin governing textile and apparel production and trade under CAFTA-DR have clear benefits and have strengthened our regional supply chains by fostering a stable business environment where American and regional manufacturers can thrive. We strongly urge you to continue following the longstanding CAFTA-DR short supply list process, which requires requestors to submit public petitions for review, and reject requests to circumvent it,” the letter states.

“Bypassing the existing short supply petition and review system could result in non-signatory nations gaining a backdoor entrance to CAFTA-DR benefits. We fear that the People’s Republic of China (PRC), as the dominant global supplier of yarns and fabrics, would be the major winner under this proposal,” they wrote.

Please also see a joint press release from Reps. McHenry and Pascrell quoting NCTO President and CEO Kim Glas here.

The letter, made public today, was sent in advance of a Senate Finance Subcommittee hearing titled, “Economic Cooperation for a Stronger and More Resilient Western Hemisphere,” scheduled for today at 3 pm.

Many in Congress and the administration have maintained support for a strong rules-based CAFTA-DR. Most recently, U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Katherine Tai, voiced her strong support for the current CAFTA-DR rules in a special video presentation at NCTO’s annual meeting at the end of March. See her remarks here.

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NCTO is a Washington, DC-based trade association that represents domestic textile manufacturers.

  •    U.S. employment in the textile supply chain was 538,067 in 2022.
  • The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $65.8 billion in 2022.
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $34 billion in 2022.
  • Capital expenditures for textiles and apparel production totaled $2.27 billion in 2021, the last year for which data is available.

CONTACT:

Kristi Ellis

Vice President, Communications

National Council of Textile Organizations

kellis@ncto.org |  202.684.3091

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Glen Raven Hosts Deputy Assistant Secretary Jennifer Knight, Highlighting Industry’s Competitiveness, Sustainability, Capital Investments & Jobs

WASHINGTON –Glen Raven hosted Jennifer Knight, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Textiles, Consumer Goods, Materials Industries, Critical Minerals and Metals with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, at the company’s state-of-the art manufacturing facility in Anderson, South Carolina today, where the company manufactures its Sunbrella® flagship brand. The company is beginning to scale a major expansion plan started in 2021, illustrating continued investment and growth by a leader in the U.S. textile industry and its importance to the U.S. economy.

“We were honored to host Deputy Assistant Secretary Knight at our Sunbrella facility in Anderson, South Carolina to give her a firsthand experience of our advanced manufacturing facilities, sustainable initiatives, and the passionate work of our U.S. manufacturing teams,” said Glen Raven CEO Leib Oehmig. “The opportunity to discuss with a key trade official the impact of our nation’s global trade polices on our company and our dedicated workers is invaluable. We highlighted the importance of Glen Raven’s contribution to our local communities, as well as the critical need to maintain a domestic textile and apparel industry and to promote policies that support a resilient and competitive supply chain, innovation and research and a vibrant and well-trained workforce. We are thankful for Deputy Assistant Secretary Knight’s commitment to understanding the challenges we face in the global trade arena and appreciate the dialogue we had with her here today.”

“Public-private sector engagement is key to supporting a competitive and resilient textile and apparel supply chain and I am pleased to visit Glen Raven, a prime example of our modern domestic textile industry with its state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities for high-performance fabrics,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary Knight. “ITA continues to support American manufacturers and recognizes the importance of building an innovative, diverse and skilled workforce.”

Glen Raven, a family-owned company founded in 1880, operates five manufacturing facilities in North and South Carolina employing 2,500 people, including their joint venture with Shawmut Corporation. The company is currently in the process of scaling a $250 million multi-phase U.S. capacity expansion plan of its facilities and infrastructure to meet customer demand.

At Glen Raven, Knight toured Glen Raven’s Sunbrella® facilities, part of the company’s Custom Fabrics division, which includes flagship brands Sunbrella® and Dickson®. Glen Raven also has two other divisions, including Glen Raven Technical Fabrics with GlenGuard®, StrataTM and Glen Raven Logistics; and Trivantage, one of the nation’s largest business-to-business distributors for the awning, marine, upholstery and shade sail industries. 

Glen Raven is a leader in the upholstery, marine, shading, automotive, military, geotextile, and protective workwear markets and operates national distribution and logistics subsidiaries.

Knight’s visit to Glen Raven’s Sunbrella® facilities comes at a critical time for the company and the U.S. textile supply chain, which produced $65.8 billion in output in 2022 and employed 538,000 workers. Glen Raven is part of the broader textile industry that is a critical manufacturing segment contributing to job growth, investments, and innovation. From 2012-2021, capital investment in U.S. yarn, fabric, apparel & sewn products manufacturing totals $20.9 billion.

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NCTO is a Washington, DC-based trade association that represents domestic textile manufacturers.

  • U.S. employment in the textile supply chain was 538,067 in 2022.
  • The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $65.8 billion in 2022.
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $34 billion in 2022.
  • Capital expenditures for textiles and apparel production totaled $2.27 billion in 2021, 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 Member Barnet Hosts Congressman William Timmons (SC-04) to Tout Innovation and Capital Investment in South Carolina’s Vibrant Textile...

May 3, 2023

WASHINGTON, DC – National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) member Barnet met with Congressman William Timmons (SC-04) this week at the company’s international headquarters in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where the company manufactures advanced textile materials and is currently expanding operations, underscoring continued growth and investment by the U.S. textile industry.

“As a leader in the Upstate region’s manufacturing of synthetic fibers, polymers, yarns, and other solutions, Barnet welcomed the opportunity to introduce Rep. Timmons to the range of innovative products our team produces here in his district,” said Chuck Hall, Barnet’s president and CEO. “We greatly appreciate the congressman’s support of South Carolina’s textile industry and are grateful for his help addressing many challenges that manufacturers in the state face.”

Barnet is a global manufacturing, recycling, and trading company, specializing in a wide range of fibers, polymers and yarns. Founded in Albany, New York in 1898 by William Barnet, the company has been dedicated to a vision of being the world’s most respected, creative, versatile, and sustainable global solution provider to its customers and suppliers. The company currently employs over 500 associates worldwide.

At Barnet, Rep. Timmons toured the company’s production line for Nega-Stat®, an advanced yarn that eliminates static discharge from fabrics that are used in a range of industrial environments.  Without this protection, a static discharge could damage sensitive electronic equipment or cause an incendiary discharge—potentially leading to an industrial explosion.

The congressman also viewed firsthand Barnet’s new carbon fiber investment at the site, which will expand the company’s production and create new manufacturing jobs.  This investment will produce modified and precision cut carbon fibers for a range of nonwoven, composite, and engineered plastic applications.

Barnet operates three manufacturing facilities in the U.S., employing 300 people.

Barnet is part of the broader domestic textile industry that is a major factor in high-tech and sustainable innovation in the production of everything from heart valves and stents to aircraft bodies and advanced body armor. The entire U.S. textile supply chain produced $65.8 billion in output in 2022 and employed nearly 538,000 workers.

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NCTO is a Washington, DC-based trade association that represents domestic textile manufacturers.

·   U.S. employment in the textile supply chain was 538,067 in 2022.

·   The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $65.8 billion in 2022.

·   U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $34 billion in 2022.

·   Capital expenditures for textiles and apparel production totaled $2.27 billion in 2021, the last year for which data is available.

CONTACT:

Kristi Ellis

Vice President, Communications

National Council of Textile Organizations

kellis@ncto.org |  202.684.3091

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NCTO Welcomes Vice President Kamala Harris’ Announcement of $585 million in New Textile and Apparel Investments and Sourcing Commitments...

February 6, 2023

WASHINGTON – The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), representing the full spectrum of the U.S. textile industry from fibers through finished sewn products, welcomed Vice President Kamala Harris’ announcement of $585 million in new textile and apparel investments and sourcing commitments in Central America today.

“Over the past year, well over $1 billion of new textile and apparel investments have been announced in Central America and the United States,” said NCTO President and CEO Kim Glas.  “The $585 million of investments and sourcing commitments announced today in the region will continue to build on the strong momentum of growth of nearshoring and onshoring these critical supply chains.”

The investments and sourcing commitments announced today continue to build on the robust textile and apparel co-production chain between the U.S. and Central America,” said NCTO President and CEO Kim Glas. “We sincerely appreciate the administration’s commitment to this critical manufacturing sector that has contributed to the backbone of economic development in Central America and the United States. And we look forward to working with our retail and brand partners to continue to expand our vital manufacturing sector.”

Over the last year, substantial investments have been flowing into Central America, predicated on the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) and the co-production chain that facilitates $15.1 billion in two-way textile and apparel trade and supports more than one million workers in the U.S. and the region.

“We saw apparel imports largely containing U.S. textile inputs from the CAFTA-DR region jump 24 percent according to the latest government trade data, and we have seen well over $1 billion in investments in the region,” Glas said.

Several NCTO members previously joined the Vice President last year to announce their investments and sourcing commitments, including Parkdale Mills, Unifi, and SanMar.

“These are just a few of the key investments in the region, which illustrates how this co-production chain is continuing to make sustainable investments that strengthen supply chain resilience, create job opportunities and investment in the U.S. and the region, and ensure transparency in our supply chains, as momentum grows for onshoring and nearshoring textile and apparel production,” Glas said. “That is a win-win for our industry and the region.”

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NCTO is a Washington, DC-based trade association that represents domestic textile manufacturers.

  • U.S. employment in the textile supply chain was 534,000 in 2021.
  • The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $65.2 billion in 2021.
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $28.4 billion in 2021.
  • Capital expenditures for textiles and apparel production totaled $1.85 billion in 2020, the last year for which data is available.

CONTACT: Kristi Ellis

Vice President, Communications

(202) 684-3091

www.ncto.org

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Domestic Textile Groups Tell Biden Administration Penalty Tariffs Counteract China’s Unfair Trade Advantage & Give American Producers a Chance...

WASHINGTON –The Biden administration’s Section 301 penalty tariffs on finished textiles and apparel counteract China’s unfair trade advantages and give U.S. manufactures a chance to compete, two key American textile manufacturing groups told the Biden administration today. Removing tariffs, the associations said, would reward China, put U.S. manufacturers at a competitive disadvantage and do nothing to reduce inflation.

In a formal submission to the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) office, which is conducting a four-year statutory review of the tariffs, the associations, representing the entirety of the U.S. textile production chain, expressed strong support for the continuation of current Section 301 penalty tariffs on finished textiles and apparel imports from China and outlined the effectiveness of U.S. tariff actions.

“In some cases, such as on finished apparel, the tariffs have worked to partially offset and counteract China’s unfair trade advantages,” the groups said. “The tariffs on finished textile and apparel items are giving U.S. manufacturers the chance to compete, and we are seeing encouraging investment and growth in moving some production and souring from China back to the Western Hemisphere.”

“The CAFTA-DR [Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement] region has seen more than $1 billion in new textile and apparel investment this year, for example, which is historic and due to the textile and apparel rules negotiated under the agreement and sourcing shifts from China,” they added. “This investment and growing U.S. imports from the Western Hemisphere is attributable in part to the 301 tariffs on finished apparel.  The tariffs on finished items in our sector are broadly supported by textile/apparel producers in the hemispheric co-production chain, and it is essential that they remain in place, absent China reforming its practices.”

The submission was filed by the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) and the U.S. Industrial and Narrow Fabrics Institute (USINFI).

The groups have long advocated for a fair, transparent process to remove tariffs on textile machinery, certain chemicals and dyes and limited textile inputs that cannot be sourced domestically to help U.S. manufacturers compete against China.

They also stressed that lifting the tariffs on finished textiles and apparel products from China “will solidify their global dominance in this sector for generations to come and reward their abusive behaviors, exacerbate the migration crisis, hurt domestic manufacturers and workers, undermine our ability to recalibrate essential PPE supply chains, and blunt the positive supply chains shifts and investments in the Western Hemisphere that are happening.” They added it would “do nothing to solve the inflation crisis facing U.S. consumers and manufacturers right now.”

See the full submission here.

The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) is a not-for-profit trade association established to represent the entire spectrum of the United States textile sector, from fibers to yarns to fabrics to finished products, as well as suppliers of numerous support services such as trucking, banking, chemicals, and other such sectors that have a stake in the prosperity and survival of the U.S. textile sector.  U.S. textile and apparel manufacturers produced $65.2 billion in output in 2021, and our sector’s supply chain employs 534,000 workers from fiber to finished sewn products.  NCTO’s headquarters are in Washington, DC.  www.ncto.org  

The United States Industrial and Narrow Fabrics Institute (USINFI)  Member companies manufacture highly-specialized textile products, advanced materials, and components used to support a variety of high-value-added and sophisticated industries.  These include the aerospace, automotive, construction, marine, medical, military, and safety/protective gear sectors among others.  USINFI currently has over 90 member companies, and its headquarters are in Roseville, MN. https://usinfi.textiles.org/

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NCTO is a Washington, DC-based trade association that represents domestic textile manufacturers.

CONTACT:

Kristi Ellis

Vice President, Communications

National Council of Textile Organizations

kellis@ncto.org |  202.684.3091

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Senate Passes Bill Aimed at Expanding Government Procurement of American-Made Essential Products as Part of the NDAA Conference Report

WASHINGTON DC—The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), representing the full spectrum of U.S. textiles from fiber though finished sewn products, commends the Senate for passing the Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes a key provision aimed at spurring more government procurement of domestically produced essential products, providing a significant benefit to the U.S. textile industry.

“We applaud the Senate for getting the NDAA across the finish line today, and we are pleased the legislation will now go to President Biden for his signature,” said NCTO President and CEO Kim Glas. “The underlying NDAA conference report includes a critical bill known as the Homeland Procurement Reform (HOPR) Act, which establishes specific criteria that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) must meet to procure more domestically manufactured uniforms, footwear, and related critical items by DHS agencies.”

“NCTO sincerely thanks the Warrior Protection and Readiness Coalition (WPRC) and the coalition of industry and labor groups who helped secure inclusion of the HOPR Act in the NDAA,” Glas said. “This common-sense bill will ensure that key divisions of the DHS can procure American-made critical uniforms and protective equipment to support the execution and enforcement of their missions.”

Glas added, “The importance of the domestic textile industry and a warm industrial base was heightened during the pandemic when the industry pivoted overnight to retool production lines to address severe shortages of lifesaving products. That experience demonstrated how imperative it is to build and expand a permanent domestic manufacturing base for our country’s health and national security. The HOPR Act is poised to provide a greatly needed demand signal to the U.S. manufacturing industry for expanded government procurement of American-made essential items, ranging from uniforms to footwear and body armor and helmets. It is a step in the right direction to further safeguard our national security from unreliable foreign supply chains in China and other countries for essential materials.”

Once signed into law, the new HOPR provisions will go into effect in 180 days.

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NCTO is a Washington, DC-based trade association that represents domestic textile manufacturers.

  • U.S. employment in the textile supply chain was 534,000 in 2021.
  • The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $65.2 billion in 2021.
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $28.4 billion in 2021.
  • Capital expenditures for textiles and apparel production totaled $1.85 billion in 2020, the last year for which data is available.

DOWNLOAD RELEASE

CONTACT:

Kristi Ellis

Vice President, Communications

National Council of Textile Organizations

kellis@ncto.org |  202.684.3091

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Barnet Hosts Congressman Greg Murphy (R-N.C.); Highlights the Importance of Supporting Policies that Bolster the Competitiveness of the U.S....

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Greg Murphy (R-N.C.) met with executives at William Barnet & Son LLC (Barnet) and toured a facility in Kinston, N.C. today, where the company’s innovation, advances in sustainable practices and its important contribution to the North Carolina economy were on full display.

Congressman Murphy’s visit is critical and comes at a pivotal time for the U.S. textile supply chain, which produced $65.2 billion in output in 2021 and employed nearly 535,000 workers. Barnet is part of the broader industry that is a major factor in high-tech and sustainable innovation in the production of everything from heart valves and stents to aircraft bodies and advanced body armor.

Barnet is a global manufacturing, recycling, and trading company, specializing in a wide range of fibers, polymers and yarns. Founded in Albany, N.Y. in 1898 by William Barnet, the company has been dedicated to a vision of being the world’s most respected, creative, versatile and sustainable solution provider to its customers and suppliers. The company currently employs over 400 employees worldwide.

During the discussion with Congressman Murphy, Barnet executives discussed several policy priorities that have far-reaching implications for North Carolina and the entire U.S. textile industry.

They also outlined the importance of policies aimed at bolstering onshoring and nearshoring production, closing a legal loophole in U.S. trade law that continues to undermine American manufacturing and gives China an advantage, and U.S. trade policy on China.

“We are honored to have hosted Dr. Murphy at our Kinston facility today,” said Chuck Hall, president of Barnet. “The opportunity to discuss important policies that impact not only our everyday business operations but the entire industry’s operations is invaluable. It is critical that U.S. trade policy centers around keeping the industry competitive. In particular, we discussed the need to maintain China 301 penalty tariffs, to fix a loophole in U.S. trade law known as the de minimis mechanism, which allows a package of goods valued at $800 or less per person to come into the country duty free every day and gives China backdoor access to the U.S. market, and to find a better process for renewing the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) which allows U.S. manufacturers duty-free access to raw materials that are no longer produced within our borders. We look forward to continuing to the work with the congressman on policies that help drive onshoring and nearshoring to the U.S. and the Western Hemisphere and those that support strong government procurement and American-made products.”

“It was wonderful to meet with Barnet’s officials and tour their impressive textile facility today. North Carolina’s textile industry is a huge driver for our economy, directly employing nearly 40,000 workers and generating over $2.7 billion in textile-related exports,” said Rep. Greg Murphy, M.D. “I am grateful to the industry leaders who took the time to discuss how we can expand this great industry, grow our state’s economy, and protect domestic manufacturing.”

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NCTO is a Washington, DC-based trade association that represents domestic textile manufacturers.

  • U.S. employment in the textile supply chain was 534,000 in 2021.
  • The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $65.2 billion in 2021.
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $28.4 billion in 2021.
  • Capital expenditures for textiles and apparel production totaled $1.85 billion in 2020, 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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Textile Executives Highlight Importance of Industry & Urge Support of Policies Bolstering U.S. Competitiveness at Roundtable with Rep. Greg...

WASHINGTON, DC – Textile executives spanning the fiber, yarn, fabric, and finished product textile industries participated in a roundtable discussion with Rep. Greg Murphy (R-NC) today. During the roundtable executives showcased the industry’s innovation, advances in sustainable practices and its important contribution to the North Carolina and the U.S. economy, while raising several priority issues in Washington that have far-reaching implications for North Carolina and the entire U.S. textile industry.

The roundtable discussion, hosted by the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), was held at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina.

North Carolina is the second largest state employer of textile-related jobs with over 36,000 workers, and those jobs play a vital role in supporting 108,000 additional jobs throughout the state. The state’s $2.7 billion in textile-related exports leads the nation.

During the roundtable, executives outlined critical policies, such as the importance of maintaining the yarn forward rules of origin in the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) and other trade agreements, advancing the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill and its importance to domestic manufacturers, upholding buy American and Berry Amendment government procurement policies, ensuring the administration is implementing the “Make PPE in America Act” as intended, and the need to address larger systemic trade issues, particularly the use of forced labor, with China.

Congressman Murphy’s visit is critical and comes at a pivotal time for the U.S. textile supply chain, which produced $65.2 billion in output in 2021 and employed nearly 535,000 workers. The industry has been at the forefront of domestic manufacturing of over 1 billion personal protective equipment (PPE) items during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“North Carolina’s textile industry is a huge driver for our economy, directly employing nearly 40,000 workers and generating over $2.7 billion in textile-related exports,” said Rep. Murphy, M.D. “I was grateful to hear from so many outstanding industry leaders during our roundtable today, and I am confident that we have the tools needed to bolster this great industry in our state. As the proud representative for North Carolina on the Ways and Means Committee, it’s an honor to work alongside NCTO to promote American jobs, grow our state economy, and protect domestic manufacturing.”

NCTO President and CEO Kim Glas said, “We sincerely appreciate Rep. Murphy’s participation in today’s industry roundtable, where he heard directly from textile executives with operations in North Carolina about opportunities and challenges confronting the industry. North Carolina has a vibrant textile industry, which employs technologically advanced and highly innovative operations, to produce a vast array of products, including high-tech components for everything from heart valves and stents to aircraft bodies and advanced body armor for our warfighters to critical PPE for the government and private sector. The importance of the U.S. textile industry to the U.S. economy and job growth cannot be overstated. That is why it is imperative that we have sound trade and government procurement policies that not only supports domestic production but also bolster our integrated coproduction chain with our Western Hemisphere trading partners. We look forward to continuing to work with Congressman Murphy on policies that: spur investment in North Carolina, the United States and the entire hemisphere; support strong government procurement policies centered around American-made products; and lead to strong enforcement of illegal trade practices that continue to give China and other countries backdoor to the U.S. market.”

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NCTO is a Washington, DC-based trade association that represents domestic textile manufacturers.

  • U.S. employment in the textile supply chain was 534,000 in 2021.
  • The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $65.2 billion in 2021.
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $28.4 billion in 2021.
  • Capital expenditures for textiles and apparel production totaled $1.85 billion in 2020, the last year for which data is available.

DOWNLOAD RELEASE

CONTACT:

Kristi Ellis

Vice President, Communications

National Council of Textile Organizations

kellis@ncto.org |  202.684.3091

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U.S. Educational Institutions Partner with Honduran University to Educate and Train Thousands of Students for Textile Jobs as Nearshoring...

WASHINGTON – North Carolina educational institutions are joining forces with a key Honduran university to educate and train thousands of students for the next generation textile workforce to meet a rising tide of nearshoring and onshoring in Honduras, Central America and the United States.

With backing from the U.S. Department of State, North Carolina State University, Gaston College, and Catawba Valley Community College signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Honduran-based Central American Technological University (UNITEC) today at a signing ceremony at Gaston College in Dallas, N.C.

High-level U.S. and Honduran government officials, including: Jose W. Fernandez, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment; Jennifer Knight, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Textiles, Consumer Goods and Materials at the U.S. Department of Commerce; and Hector Zelaya, private secretary to Honduran President Xiomara Castro, participated in a roundtable discussion with textile executives and educational leaders as well as today’s MOU signing ceremony.

The U.S. Department of State issued a statement of public support today for the MOU and the unique collaboration between the U.S. and Honduran institutions.

The groundbreaking initiative will launch a series of educational workforce development programs, ranging from training and certificate programs to undergraduate and graduate degrees, in textile-related areas of study.

The partnership comes at a defining moment for the U.S., Honduras and Central America, which are seeing historical levels of investment in textile and apparel production stemming from a global supply chain crisis that has driven a significant shift in sourcing out of Asia to the U.S. and the region. Nearly $1 billion of historic textile and apparel investment is anticipated in the U.S. and Central America this year alone. And this partnership also creates an educational pathway to economic opportunity in Honduras and the region that not only creates a skilled and resilient workforce but can also help to address the root causes of irregular migration.

Current growth projections indicate a need for more than 10,000 new skilled workers in the textile industry in Honduras alone over the next five years. In order to meet these needs, educational programming is needed at all levels.

The U.S. and this region are inextricably linked through a textile and apparel co-production chain under the U.S.-Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) that has generated $12.6 billion in annual two-way trade in the sector and supports 1 million workers in the U.S. and the region.

North Carolina plays a central role in this co-production chain. It is the second largest state for textile employment nationally with over 36,000 workers, and the state’s $2.7 billion in textile-related exports leads the nation. The Northern Triangle, including Honduras, is a major export destination for U.S. yarns and fabrics that come back as finished items under the U.S.-CAFTA-DR trade agreement.

In addition to participating in the signing ceremony and the earlier industry roundtable, Under Secretary Fernandez, Deputy Assistant Secretary Knight and Secretary Zelaya toured two of Gildan’s yarn-spinning facilities in Salisbury, N.C., a leading apparel manufacturer that has invested over $700 million since 2013 across its network of yarn-spinning facilities in the United States.

“The MOU signed today is a win on so many levels. Firstly, it is a win for U.S. textile manufacturers who operate in both the U.S. and Central America as they build more resilient and economically and environmentally sustainable supply chains. Secondly, it’s a win for the Wilson College of Textiles and NC State in advancing its land-grant mission to support economic prosperity and provide transformative opportunities for people of all ages in North Carolina and beyond in collaboration with our community college partners and now UNITEC in Honduras,” said David Hinks, Dean of the Wilson College of Textiles, North Carolina State University. “Together we will train the next generation of textile workers, leaders and academics in this critical production chain. These workforce programs will have a ripple effect throughout Central America, the region and the United States, spurring job growth and more investment, and not just in textiles and apparel. Hundreds of our industry partners that work with our college closely are looking to re-engineer their supply chains out of China to the United States and Central America. This new partnership will provide a near seamless educational and training pathway to building an even stronger textile and apparel co-production chain between the U.S. and CAFTA-DR countries, which collectively supports 1.1 million workers.”

“This is an incredible opportunity to build a partnership and bridge between U.S. educational institutions and UNITEC. Through this collaboration, we will develop education and workforce training programs that will support the vibrant textile and apparel co-production chain between Honduras and the United States,” said Dr. John Hauser, President of Gaston College. “The time is now to invest in the future of the textile and apparel industries, and Gaston College and Catawba Valley Community College look forward to playing a key role in training textile operators to support the impressive growth and investment in this critical sector.”

“By signing this academic MOU, we bring education and industry together between two economies with a strong history of success in the textile industry. This is a great example of creating valuable partnerships aimed at developing the workforce to be more competitive to operate in a global market,” said Dr. Marlon Brevé-Reyes, UNITEC Rector.

Under Secretary Fernandez said, “The United States is very supportive of the academic partnership announced here today which will lead to increased opportunities in co-production and will benefit both the United States and Central America. Investment in workforce and adherence to strong labor standards and good labor practices are essential to creating sustainable and resilient supply chains.”

“President Xiomara Castro welcomes today’s announcement and is actively engaged in creating a good investment climate in Honduras. The MOU signed today will help provide economic opportunities to textile workers in our country and strengthen our ties,” said Secretary Zelaya.

“As we work to create more sustainable and resilient global supply chains, this sector is in a window of opportunity,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary Knight. “The innovations that U.S. and Central American textile and apparel companies create to reduce environmental impact and increase transparency across their supply chains can set them apart from global competitors, and today’s workforce development initiative is a key element in turning this vision into reality.”

National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) President and CEO Kim Glas stated, “This partnership demonstrates the critical need for education and training programs for the next generation of academics and textile employees to meet head-on the global sourcing shift that has been driving production out of Asia to Honduras, the entire CAFTA-DR region and the United States. Collaboration on this scale will support our critical co-production chain in the CAFTA-DR region and further enhance investments for the years to come. U.S. and Honduran government support for this private sector collaboration is crucial. We sincerely appreciate the statement of support issued by the State Department, as well as the participation in today’s events by Under Secretary Fernandez, Deputy Assistant Secretary Knight and Secretary Zelaya. It’s important these efforts are supported and funded in order to help expand growth opportunities in the U.S. and Central American textile and apparel production efforts. This is an exciting time for our industry.”

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NCTO is a Washington, DC-based trade association that represents domestic textile manufacturers.

  • U.S. employment in the textile supply chain was 534,000 in 2021.
  • The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $65.2 billion in 2021.
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $28.4 billion in 2021.
  • Capital expenditures for textiles and apparel production totaled $1.85 billion in 2020, the last year for which data is available.

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PRESS CONTACTS:

Kristi Ellis

Vice President, Communications

National Council of Textile Organizations

kellis@ncto.org |  202.281.9305

Mary Cullen

Project Specialist

NP Strategy

4141 Parklake Avenue, Suite 200, Raleigh, NC 27612

T: 919.653.7814, C: 630.272.5691

mary@npstrategy.com

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