NCTO Applauds Continued IPR Enforcement Efforts; Renews Request for Added Tariffs on Chinese Textile and Apparel End Items

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Council of Textile Organization’s (NCTO) applauds the Trump administration’s September 17 Section 301 tariff announcement as necessary to resolve longstanding trade inequities with China.  NCTO, however, strongly believes that the administration’s continued focus on added tariffs on upstream textile inputs while thus far refusing to impose tariffs on finished Chinese textile home furnishing and apparel is flawed.

“The Trump administration is right to confront China’s unfair trade practices.  Section 301 tariffs show the world that countries which serially abuse U.S. intellectual property rights (IPR) will be held accountable,” said NCTO President & CEO Auggie Tantillo. 

“NCTO also thanks the Trump administration for removing various items from the latest retaliation list, including rayon fiber and certain dyes and chemicals.  The U.S. textile industry requested the exclusion of these products because they are not available domestically and China is the only significant source of supply,” Tantillo continued.

“Had U.S. textile manufacturers been forced to pay higher duties on the excluded items, it would raise costs for manufacturers making goods that must compete with like Chinese products,” Tantillo added.

“Despite yesterday’s announcement, the U.S. textile industry remains of the belief that the administration’s strategy to impose Section 301 tariffs on inputs is not the most effective approach to penalize China for its rampant abuses of intellectual property rights in our sector,” Tantillo said. 

“Added tariffs on finished Chinese textile home furnishings and apparel is the most effective sanction the United States could impose on China because like products from the NAFTA and CAFTA regions using U.S.-made textile inputs immediately become more competitive, thereby incentivizing the reshoring textile manufacturing jobs,” Tantillo explained as he referred to NCTO’s public comments filed on May 11 requesting Section 301 tariffs on Chinese textile and apparel end products. 

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 550,500 in 2017. 

·       The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $77.9 billion in 2017. 

·       U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $28.6 billion in 2017. 

·       Capital expenditures for textile and apparel production totaled $2.4 billion in 2016, the last year for which data is available.

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NCTO Files Public Comments on Proposed Section 301 Tariffs

WASHINGTON, DC — The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) filed public comments on the Trump administration’s proposed Section 301 tariffs on $200 billion in imports from China on September 6.  The submission is below.

 

The Honorable Robert E. Lighthizer
United States Trade Representative
600 17th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20508

Via Online Submission at www.regulations.gov / Docket No. USTR-2018-0026 – Section 301

Re: Request for Comments Concerning Proposed Modification of Action Pursuant to Section 301: China’s Acts, Policies, and Practices Related to Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property, and Innovation (83 FR 33608)

 

Dear Ambassador Lighthizer:

The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) appreciates the opportunity to provide public comments regarding the above-referenced Federal Register notice found at 83 FR 33608, dated July 17, 2018 (Docket USTR-2018-0026).  The following information is provided in addition to NCTO’s August 20 testimony as part of Panel 6 at the Section 301 Committee’s public hearing, which is attached for reference.

To summarize, while NCTO remains highly supportive of the overarching case against China’s intellectual property abuses, we continue to encourage USTR and the Section 301 Committee to prioritize the following products in our sector:

•          finished apparel that tracks with product being sourced from U.S. Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partners,

•          textile-based home furnishings and other end items, and

•          advanced technical textile products. 

The subject $200 billion list largely incorporates intermediate textile manufacturing inputs that undergo further processing as opposed to finished products where there would be a benefit throughout the U.S. textile and apparel supply chain of retaliatory tariffs against China.  In certain instances, there is a clear domestic supply of the inputs on the subject 301 list, but, in other cases, such as with respect to rayon and acrylic staple fibers, U.S. manufacturers utilizing these inputs are dependent on imports.  The 301 list also incorporates many dyes, chemicals and finishes used in the textile manufacturing process and additional types textile machinery that would raise production costs and undermine U.S. competitiveness. 

Along with these comments, NCTO has submitted detailed supplementary information to USTR and strongly encouraged our member companies to be active participants in the public comment process in commenting directly as to the impact on their businesses. 

Thank you for the opportunity to provide continued input in the Section 301 process.

Sincerely,

 

Augustine Tantillo
President & CEO
NCTO

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NCTO Renews Call for Tariffs on Textile and Apparel End Items at USTR China 301 Hearing

WASHINGTON, DC – National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) Senior Vice President Sara Beatty is testifying this afternoon on Panel 6 at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative’s hearing on the Trump administration’s proposed Section 301 tariffs on $200 billion in imports from China.

Beatty’s statement as prepared for delivery is included at the bottom of this release and it reiterates NCTO’s 24-page public comments and testimony from earlier this year that the following products be prioritized on the China 301 retaliation list:

  • finished apparel that tracks with product being sourced from U.S. Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partners,
  • textile-based home furnishings and other end items, and
  • advanced technical textile products.

 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 550,500 in 2017.
  • The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $77.9 billion in 2017.
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $28.6 billion in 2017.
  • Capital expenditures for textile and apparel production totaled $2.4 billion in 2016, the last year for which data is available.

 

Sara Beatty, Senior Vice President, National Council of Textile Organizations
China 301 IPR Hearing – Panel 6
August 20, 2018
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

My name is Sara Beatty, and I am the Senior Vice President of the National Council of Textile Organizations.  Thank you for the opportunity to appear today.

NCTO represents the full spectrum of the U.S. textile sector, from fiber through finished sewn products.  As we have consistently voiced throughout this process, NCTO steadfastly supports the President’s pursuit of a Section 301 case to address China’s rampant intellectual property (IP) abuses.

Importance of Covering End Items

In NCTO’s previous testimony and public comments, we documented the severely damaging effects of China’s IP theft and related abuses on U.S. textile and apparel manufacturers and our views on how best to address the problem in our sector.  To summarize, it remains our recommendation that priority should be placed on covering the following products on the retaliation list:

  • finished apparel that tracks with product being sourced from U.S. Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partners,
  • textile-based home furnishings and other end items, and
  • advanced technical textile products.

While products in Chapters 50-60 covering textile fibers, yarns and fabrics are on the subject $200 billion list, finished apparel and other sewn products in Chapters 61-63 are again absent.  The U.S. textile industry is disappointed by this repeated omission and asks that USTR consider the following:

First, finished apparel, home furnishings and other made-up textile goods equate to 93.5 percent of U.S. imports from China in our sector, while fiber, yarn and fabric imports from China represent only 6.5 percent.  Given that apparel and other sewn products made in China almost always contain Chinese inputs, a significantly greater value of fibers, yarns and fabrics made in China enter the U.S. market in the form of Chinese-made downstream finished products than at the input stage.

Noting textiles have been identified as a key industry under the Made in China 2025 plan and Chinese-made textiles gain significant competitive advantages in the U.S. market through intellectual property theft, NCTO agrees that textiles should be part of the administration’s 301 strategy.  It is also why, however, NCTO continues to stress that the most logical and effective way to target China’s predatory trade practices in our sector is to address their primary means of disrupting our market, exports of end items to the United States.

Most of China’s 10 million direct textile and apparel jobs are concentrated at the final steps of the supply chain, the highly labor-intensive cutting and sewing operations.  As such, imposing tariffs on end items would maximize U.S. leverage in bringing China to make meaningful reforms.

Further, the importance of targeting finished products on the retaliation list is not only derived from the fact that China predominantly ships end items versus intermediate inputs, but also because end item imports most directly and negatively impact U.S. textile and apparel production, investment and jobs.  China’s apparel and other textile-based end items compete head to head with like Western Hemisphere products that typically are made from U.S. fibers, yarns and fabrics.

By the time a pair of Chinese blue jeans arrives in the U.S. market, they have benefited from China’s illegal trade practices at every stage in the production chain, allowing them to displace other products in the market.  The pre-duty unit cost of a pair of jeans is $7.50 imported from China compared to $8.29 from our Western Hemisphere free trade partners.  A 25% additional tariff adds $1.88 to China’s price, providing a considerable incentive to shift sourcing from China to duty-free sources in the Western Hemisphere.

NCTO is convinced that the Trump administration’s Section 301 tariffs would be far more effective if Chinese apparel and related end products were included on the 301 list because that would benefit the entire U.S. textile and apparel supply chain and address the root issue.

Textile and Related Products on the $200 Billion List

With the inclusion of virtually all fiber, yarn and fabric tariff lines on the $200 billion list, NCTO is finalizing feedback on a line-by-line basis that identifies products where the U.S. textile industry would be negatively impacted by additional tariffs of 10%, or up to 25%, on product from China.  A number of our member companies are also filing comments speaking to their unique circumstances.  Given that these are largely intermediate-stage manufacturing inputs, additional duties on products imported from China for further processing can be counterproductive in instances where there is no U.S. production and China is one of a limited number of import sources.

As this type of detailed information cannot be adequately conveyed in testimony form, NCTO will be submitting supplementary public comments.  However, acrylic and rayon staple fibers serve as good examples of products that NCTO recommends be removed from the 301 list to avoid undue harm to U.S. manufacturers.  These fibers are not produced in the United States and their unavailability is reflected in the rules of origin of our more recent free trade agreements as well as in the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) pending in Congress.

Raising the production costs for these inputs will only undercut U.S. competitiveness for manufacturers that utilize them without bolstering U.S. producers, of which none exist.  Further, yarn and fabric producers in China and other countries will not face these added costs, thus simultaneously placing U.S. producers at a significant disadvantage while providing a loophole for Chinese fibers to enter the U.S. market in the form of a downstream product.

Beyond the traditional textile chapters, NCTO recommends removal of certain chemicals, dyes and finishes that are integral to the textile manufacturing process and create value add in U.S. products.  Our members report that many of these products are largely unavailable from U.S. sources, particularly in the quantities consumed, and thus the increased raw material costs will damage downstream domestic manufacturing competitiveness.  Again, a list of specific tariff lines will be provided.

Last, we are concerned that while textile machinery was largely removed from the initial $50 billion list, additional lines have been proposed on this list.  NCTO continues to strongly recommend the removal of all machinery-related items as U.S. textile companies are almost entirely dependent on imports to equip their factories.

Thank you again for the opportunity to appear today.  NCTO looks forward to working with the Trump administration on ways to maximize the benefit of Section 301 tariffs to American industry and workers, and I would be pleased to answer any questions.

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NCTO Applauds Trump Administration Efforts to Address China’s Unfair Trade Practices; Calls for Tariffs on Chinese Textile and Apparel...

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Council of Textile Organization’s (NCTO) applauds the Trump administration for its continued effort to resolve longstanding trade inequities with China, noting the July 10 announcement proposing $200 billion in Chinese goods for an added 10 percent tariff.  The latest U.S. action follows China’s unjustified retaliation against U.S. imports after the United States placed Section 301 tariffs on Chinese goods in response to that country’s unfair trade practices related to the forced transfer of American technology and intellectual property.

NCTO also called on the Trump administration to include finished textile and apparel products on any future lists of imports from China to be made subject to Section 301 tariffs.

“The Trump administration is right to confront China’s unfair trade practices.  Section 301 tariffs show the world that countries who cheat the United States on trade will be held accountable,” said NCTO President & CEO Auggie Tantillo. 

That said, NCTO will be thoroughly vetting the new retaliation list.  “With the inclusion of virtually all fiber, yarn and fabric tariff lines, NCTO’s response will be on a line-by-line basis, with support or opposition to individual lines dependent on the how the competitiveness of the U.S. textile industry is impacted,” Tantillo continued.

“NCTO is convinced that the Trump administration’s Section 301 tariffs would be far more effective if Chinese apparel and sewn non-apparel end products were included in the 301 list because that would benefit the entire U.S. textile and apparel supply chain,” Tantillo said as he referred to NCTO’s China 301 public comments filed on May 11 and noted that no apparel and sewn non-apparel end products were included on the U.S. government’s latest proposed tariff list. 

“If properly targeted, Section 301 tariffs would not only address the underlying illegal activity on the part of China, but also help reshore American jobs and boost U.S. exports to the NAFTA and CAFTA regions.  That’s why NCTO will continue to engage the Trump administration on ways to maximize the benefit of Section 301 tariffs to American industry and workers,” Tantillo added.

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 550,500 in 2017. 

·       The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $77.9 billion in 2017. 

·       U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $28.6 billion in 2017. 

·       Capital expenditures for textile and apparel production totaled $2.4 billion in 2016, the last year for which data is available.

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NCTO Applauds Trump Administration 301 Tariffs; Calls to Include Textile and Apparel End Products in Future Actions

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Council of Textile Organization’s (NCTO) praised the Trump administration’s announcement imposing Section 301 tariffs on China in response to China’s unfair trade practices related to the forced transfer of American technology and intellectual property. NCTO also called on the Trump administration to include finished textile and apparel products on any future lists of imports from China to be made subject to Section 301 tariffs.

“The Trump administration is to be commended for taking decisive action against China’s unfair trade practices.  Section 301 tariffs deter trade cheats,” said NCTO President & CEO Auggie Tantillo. 

“As per our recommendation, NCTO is pleased that almost all textile machinery products were removed from the final list of tariff lines subject to immediate 301 duties because tariffs on textile machinery hinder the competitiveness of U.S. textile manufacturers,” Tantillo continued.

“While appreciative of today’s actions, NCTO is convinced that the Trump administration’s efforts to deter China’s unfair trade practices would be even more effective if textile and apparel end products from China were made subject to Section 301 tariffs,” Tantillo said as he referred to NCTO’s China 301 public comments filed on May 11. 

Noting that the Trump administration proposed an additional list of Chinese products for Section 301 tariffs as part of today’s announcement, Tantillo concluded, “NCTO is pleased that some textile products are on the second list.  It would have a greater deterring effect, however, if more textile and apparel end products were included.  As such, NCTO looks forward to working closely with the Trump administration to refine it.”

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 550,500 in 2017. 

·       The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $77.9 billion in 2017. 

·       U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $28.6 billion in 2017. 

·       Capital expenditures for textile and apparel production totaled $2.4 billion in 2016, the last year for which data is available.

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Richmond Area Student Wins the 2018 Paul T. O’Day Memorial Scholarship Sponsored by NCTO’s Fiber Council

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Council of Textile Organization’s (NCTO) Fiber Council announces Mr. William Parker of Glen Allen, VA as the recipient of the 2018 Paul T. O’Day Memorial Scholarship Award.

Mr. Parker will graduate with honors from Mills E. Godwin High School in suburban Richmond in June and will go to the Georgia Institute of Technology’s (Georgia Tech) College of Engineering where he intends to major in computer engineering.

NCTO Fiber Council Chair, Don Bockoven, President & CEO of Leigh Fibers, commented, “We are pleased to recognize Mr. Parker’s exceptional record of academic achievements with his selection as the 2018 recipient of the Paul T. O’Day Memorial Scholarship. All of us on the Fiber Council congratulate Mr. Parker and wish him continued success in his 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. AFMA merged with NCTO effective April 1, 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 550,500 in 2017.
  • The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $77.9 billion in 2017.
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $28.6 billion in 2017.
  • Capital expenditures for textile and apparel production totaled $2.4 billion in 2016, the last year for which data is available.

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U.S. Textile Industry Calls for China 301 Tariffs on Textile & Apparel End Products

WASHINGTON, DC – National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) President & CEO Auggie Tantillo testified as a witness at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) public hearing on proposed China 301 tariffs in Washington, DC on May 17.

“The U.S. textile industry strongly supports the Trump administration’s Section 301 case to sanction China’s rampant intellectual property rights (IPR) theft,” said NCTO President & CEO Auggie Tantillo.

“The U.S. textile industry urges the Trump administration to include textile and apparel end products in any Section 301 retaliatory tariff action against China,” Tantillo added as he noted that China’s predatory, illegal trade actions, including IPR theft, have contributed to the loss of millions of U.S. manufacturing jobs, including hundreds of thousands in textiles.

“China’s domination of global textile markets has clearly been aided by its rampant theft of U.S. textile intellectual property.  From the violation of patents on high performance fibers, yarns and fabrics to the infringement of copyrighted designs on textile home furnishings, China has gained pricing advantages through blatantly illegal activities.  Putting 301 tariffs on Chinese textile and apparel exports would send a long overdue signal that these predatory actions will no longer be tolerated,” Tantillo finished.

In addition to Tantillo’s hearing testimony (see below), NCTO and the U.S. Industrial Fabrics Institute (USIFI) and Narrow Fabrics Institute (NFI) submitted a joint 24-page statement for the record as part of USTR’s public comment process on the China 301 tariff issue that closed on May 11.

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

  • U.S. employment in the textile supply chain was 550,500 in 2017.
  • The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $77.9 billion in 2017.
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $28.6 billion in 2017.
  • Capital expenditures for textile and apparel production totaled $2.4 billion in 2016, the last year for which data is available.

 

Witness Statement

Auggie Tantillo, President & CEO, National Council of Textile Organizations

USTR China 301 Intellectual Property Rights Hearing

May 17, 2018

 

My name is Auggie Tantillo, and I am the President & CEO of the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO).  I am grateful for this opportunity to testify today.

NCTO represents the full spectrum of the U.S. textile sector, from fiber through finished sewn products, and we strongly support the President’s initiation of a Section 301 case to address China’s persistent and severely damaging intellectual property (IP) theft.  With that said, the U.S. textile industry is deeply disappointed that the retaliation list does not contain a single textile or apparel product.

This is a glaring omission because China has used a system of predatory trade practices, including brazen theft of U.S. textile materials, technology, and innovation, to dominate global markets.  Today, China holds nearly 40 percent of the world’s total trade in this sector.  Since 1997, China’s textile and apparel exports to the United States have increased by a stunning 1,400 percent, helping to fuel the more than $44 billion U.S. trade deficit with China in our sector last year.

Intellectual property rights (IPR) theft has helped enable China’s global ascendancy in the textile sector, and U.S. textile and apparel manufacturers have been acutely victimized by China’s intellectual property violations.  Department of Homeland Security (DHS) data substantiates this point, demonstrating:

  • In FY 2016 and 2017, wearing apparel and accessories accounted for the single largest segment of DHS IPR seizures, at 20% and 15% respectively.
  • The total value of wearing apparel and accessories seizures was nearly $200 million over the past two fiscal years.

The U.S. textile industry is vulnerable to IPR theft as the global leader in research and development and leading innovator of next generation fibers, yarns, and fabrics with cutting-edge characteristics and end-uses.  Further, proprietary technologies in the textile sector are difficult to develop but often relatively easy to copy and/or reverse engineer.  The following are some specific examples of China’s abuses in this area:

High Performance Textiles are products with extraordinary performance capabilities, such as textiles with high elasticity, extreme wear and abrasion resistance, and enhanced breathability and moisture-wicking capabilities.

A U.S. manufacturer and holder of various patents on fabrics of a highly complex construction has seen its products continually attacked by China.  The performance capabilities of these patented fabrics are so sophisticated that they are used in the U.S. military’s Generation III Extended Cold Weather Clothing System.

One patent covers a composite fabric that is designed to rapidly remove moisture from the skin. This product has an outer layer fabric made of highly absorbent materials, and a second, inner layer fabric formed with both vertical and horizontal channels, constructed from yarns with a plurality of fibers.  The two fabrics are knitted concurrently so that the layers are separate yet integrated one with the other.

Despite being solely responsible for these inventions and holding the patents for these products, the U.S. manufacturer finds itself competing against its own fabrics in activewear markets at home and abroad.  The company has identified garments imported by numerous major U.S. brands that violate their patents.  In each of these instances, the infringing fabric was made in China.

Home Furnishings are the textile products we use daily in our homes such as carpets, towels, comforters, drapery, and upholstered furniture.

U.S. home textile companies report that it is normally less than six months between the display of a new design and facing competition from copies of that proprietary textile design by Chinese manufacturers.  When these companies have successfully adjudicated copyright infringement cases in China, penalty judgements are routinely well below the actual level of damages sustained.  The ability to enforce rulings and collect penalties is frustratingly slow and, in some cases, nonexistent as guilty parties often reorganize as new companies to avoid the legal repercussions.

New Materials is one of the ten R&D priority technology domains designated in the Made in China 2025 national plan, under which textiles is listed as an “advanced basic material.”

Advanced textile materials are a strong growth area in terms of domestic investment, output, and employment.  Innovations in this field have allowed the introduction of textile products in diverse markets such as medical, telecommunications, aerospace, construction, and environmental remediation.

A U.S. company produces an advanced textile structure for the telecommunications sector that they manufacture in China for sale in Asian markets.  While the product required significant effort to develop and optimize, it is relatively simple to manufacture.  The U.S. company obtained numerous patents including invention patents and utility models in China.  Nonetheless, several Chinese companies knocked off this product in multiple provinces.

The company successfully sued their competitors for patent infringement and have defended attempts to have their primary patents invalidated.  Again, damage awards were low and collection was difficult.  At least one Chinese company simply opened another infringing company after the first was enjoined.

Consumer Impact Analysis

Beyond the question of IPR, another key metric in the construction of the retaliation list was a ranking of products “according to the likely impact on U.S. consumers.”  We do not believe that textile and apparel products should be disqualified based on consumer concerns.

Their inclusion would only impair U.S. consumers if there were no viable alternatives for the same goods.  In the U.S. market, textile and apparel products are globally and abundantly sourced.  The U.S. Department of Commerce lists 98 different countries in their monthly textile and apparel “Major Shippers” report.  Last year, the United States imported over $73 billion in textile and apparel goods from sources other than China.  Many of these imports were duty-free from our free trade agreement (FTA) partners.  Aside from China, sixteen different countries shipped at least $1 billion worth of textile and apparel products to the United States in 2017.

To argue that American consumers would be deprived of choice or forced to pay significantly more ignores today’s abundant and diverse textile and apparel global sourcing structure.

Further, it is a tactical mistake to exempt strategically important industries in China from the retaliation list.  The textile and apparel sector is a critical aspect of China’s national economy due to the extraordinary number of workers employed in it.  According to reports, the textile and apparel sector is the single largest provider of industrial employment in China, with approximately 24,000 enterprises, over 10 million direct jobs, and millions of additional jobs in support industries.

To resolve China’s rampant IPR abuses, any retaliation list will need to include pillar sectors of their economy.  Threatening China’s illegal stranglehold on hundreds of billions of dollars of exports in the textile sector will create legitimate concerns as to China’s ability to maintain their astonishing employment levels in this sector.

Textile Machinery

Additionally, we oppose inclusion of textile machinery on the retaliation list as virtually no textile machinery is manufactured in the United States.  China’s explosive growth in the U.S. textile and apparel market also devastated the U.S. textile machinery industry, leaving domestic textile companies almost totally dependent on imports to equip their factories.  The failure to remove textile machinery from the list will result in:

  • Increased production costs for U.S. textile manufacturers, exacerbating the already significant and often illegally-attained price advantages that China holds;
  • Jobs losses in the U.S. textile production chain and supplier industries; and
  • Increased prices for U.S. exports of textile goods to our Western Hemisphere apparel partners.

Conclusion & Recommendation

In summary, the U.S. textile industry strongly recommends that the Trump administration add to the retaliation list:

  • Finished apparel items that track closely with product being sourced from U.S. FTA partners;
  • Textile-based home furnishings; and
  • Advanced textiles, defined as textile inputs or finished products designed to meet rigorous safety and/or unique high-performance criteria.

We also recommend that all textile machinery items be removed from the retaliation list.

Adopting these recommendations would provide a modest level of relief to an industry severely undermined by China’s persistent theft of our intellectual property.  On the other hand, failure to include textile and apparel products would condone China’s illegal activity in this strategically important sector.

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NCTO Public Comments on Proposed China 301 Action

WASHINGTON, DC — On May 11, the National Council of Textile Organizations and the U.S. Industrial Fabrics Institute and Narrow Fabrics Institute jointly filed a 24-page public comment with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative regarding Docket DOC 2018-0005, Proposed Determination of Action Pursuant to Section 301: China’s Acts, Policies, and Practices Related to Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property, and Innovation.

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NCTO Elects Georgia Yarn Manufacturing CEO as 2018 Chairman

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) held its 15th Annual Meeting March 20-22 in Washington, DC.  Elected as NCTO officers for 2018 are:

Chairman – Marty Moran

  • Mr. Moran is CEO of Buhler Quality Yarns Corp., a leading fine-count yarn supplier with a manufacturing plant and its U.S. headquarters in Jefferson, Georgia.
  • Mr. Moran also served as 2017 NCTO Vice Chairman.

Vice Chairman – Don Bockoven

  • Mr. Bockoven is President & CEO of Wellford, South Carolina-based Leigh Fibers and ICE Recycling.  Leigh Fibers is an innovative leader in converting textile waste into fiber solutions.

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

  • U.S. employment in the textile supply chain was 550,500 in 2017.
  • The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $77.9 billion in 2017.
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $28.6 billion in 2017.
  • Capital expenditures for textile and apparel production totaled $2.4 billion in 2016, the last year for which data is available.

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2018 State of the U.S. Textile Industry Address

WASHINGTON, DC – Outgoing 2017-18 National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) Chairman William V. “Bill” McCrary Jr. delivered the trade association’s 2018 State of the U.S. Textile Industry overview at NCTO’s 15th Annual Meeting on March 22 at the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC.

Mr. McCrary’s speech outlined (1) U.S. textile supply chain economic, employment and trade data, (2) the 2018 policy priorities of domestic textile manufacturers, and (3) other NCTO activities.

The text of his remarks as prepared for delivery are included in this press statement along with hyperlinks to an economic data infographic and a graphic illustrating the U.S. textile industry’s trading relationship with Mexico.

Mr. McCrary is Chairman and CEO of William Barnet & Son LLC, a synthetic fiber/yarn/polymer firm headquartered in Spartanburg, South Carolina with plants and/or offices in the Americas, Europe, and Asia.

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

  • U.S. employment in the textile supply chain was 550,500 in 2017.
  • The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $77.9 billion in 2017.
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $28.6 billion in 2017.
  • Capital expenditures for textile and apparel production totaled $2.4 billion in 2016, the last year for which data is available.

 

[the text of McCrary’s remarks as prepared for delivery begins below]

It has been an amazing year for the U.S. textile industry and the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO).  President Trump’s pro-manufacturing agenda is forcing Washington to do what NCTO has long sought – rethink policies on trade, taxation, regulatory reform and a host of other issues.

Let there be no doubt.  The time for change is now and NCTO is committed to working with the Trump administration to achieve the best policy outcomes on these and other issues.   But before laying out NCTO’s policy agenda, I want to recap how the industry fared in 2017.

THE NUMBERS                                                                                                                                                     

Thanks to its productivity, flexibility and innovation, the U.S. textile industry has cemented its position in the global market.

In 2017, the value of U.S. man-made fiber and filament, textile, and apparel shipments totaled an estimated $77.9 billion, this is an uptick from the $74.4 billion in output in 2016 and an increase of 16 percent since 2009.[1]

The breakdown of 2017 shipments by industry sector is:[2]

  • $31.5 billion for yarns and fabrics
  • $26.6 billion for home furnishings, carpet & other non-apparel sewn products
  • $12.5 billion for apparel
  • An estimated $7.3 billion for man-made fibers

Capital expenditures also are healthy.  Investment in fiber, yarn, fabric, and other non-apparel textile product manufacturing has more than doubled from $960 million in 2009 to $2.1 billion in 2016.[3]

Our sector’s supply chain employs 550,500 workers.[4]  The 2017 figures include:

  • 112,300 jobs in yarns and fabrics
  • 114,700 jobs in home furnishings, carpet, and other non-apparel sewn products
  • 119,300 jobs in apparel manufacturing
  • 25,100 jobs in man-made fibers
  • 126,600 jobs in cotton farming and related industry
  • 52,500 jobs in wool growing and related industry

As we examine these numbers, it is important to note that the heavy job losses incurred because of massive import surges in the 1995-2008 timeframe, virtually have stopped.[5]  Today, like most other U.S. manufacturing sectors, fluctuations in employment figures are generally due to normal business cycles, new investment, or productivity increases.

U.S. exports of fiber, yarns, fabrics, made-ups, and apparel were $28.6 billion in 2017. [6]  This is nearly a nine percent increase in export performance over 2016. Shipments to NAFTA and CAFTA-DR countries accounted for 54 percent of all U.S. textile supply chain exports.

The breakdown of exports by sector is as follows:

  • $5.9 billion – cotton and wool
  • $4.4 billion – yarns
  • $8.9 billion – fabrics
  • $3.7 billion – home furnishings, carpet & other non-apparel sewn products
  • $5.7 billion – apparel

The United States is especially well-positioned globally in fiber, yarn, fabric, and non-apparel sewn products markets; it was the world’s 4th largest individual country exporter of those products in 2016.[7]

The most important U.S. export markets by region are:[8]

  • $11.85 billion – NAFTA
  • $3.4 billion – CAFTA-DR
  • $8.7 billion – Asia
  • $2.8 billion – Europe
  • $2.0 billion – Rest of World

Focusing solely on America’s $13 billion in man-made fiber, yarn and fabric exports, the countries buying the most product are:[9]

  • $4.4 billion – Mexico
  • $1.7 billion – Canada
  • $1.3 billion – Honduras
  • $987 million – China
  • $473 million – Dominican Republic

The numbers show the fundamentals for the U.S. textile industry are sound.  This is true even though some markets for U.S. textiles and apparel were soft last year.  For the most part, any sluggishness was due to factors beyond control, such as disruption in the retail sector caused by the shifting of sales from brick and mortar outlets to the internet.  With that said, the U.S. textile industry’s commitment to capital re-investment and a continued emphasis on quality and innovation make it well-positioned to adapt to market changes and take advantage of opportunities as 2018 moves along.

POLICY ISSUES

For decades, U.S. policy systematically undervalued the importance of domestic manufacturing, and President Trump is right that this has hurt America.

As evidenced by the work done by NCTO’s government relations team, NCTO endorses President Trump’s macro policy objectives of reshoring industry, fighting for free, but fair trade, enforcing U.S. trade laws, making the U.S. tax code more competitive, buying American, cutting unnecessary regulation, revitalizing infrastructure, ensuring cheap energy, and fixing health care.

On trade, NCTO agrees with President Trump that U.S. trading relationships must be rooted in fairness and reciprocity to benefit a broad swath of American society.

America’s most important trading relationship is NAFTA, a pillar upon which the U.S.-Western Hemisphere textile supply chain is built.  At almost $12 billion combined, Mexico and Canada are the U.S. textile industry’s largest export markets.  Moreover, Mexico provides vital garment assembly capacity the United States lacks at this time.

Let me be clear.  NCTO strongly supports NAFTA.  That said, NCTO agrees with President Trump that NAFTA can and must be improved.

NAFTA’s yarn-forward rule of origin contains loopholes that benefit third-party countries, such as China.  Closing them would boost U.S. and NAFTA partner textile and apparel production and jobs.

NCTO’s NAFTA objectives include:

  • Eliminating tariff preference levels (TPLs) on apparel, non-apparel sewn products, fabrics & yarn
  • Require use of NAFTA-origin components beyond the “essential character” of the fabric – i.e. sewing thread, pocketing & narrow elastics
  • Strengthen buy American laws for Dept. of Homeland Security textiles & clothing by closing the Kissell Amendment loophole for Canada & Mexico
  • Strengthen customs enforcement

NCTO further agrees with President Trump that all U.S. free trade agreements should be periodically reviewed on a performance basis.

As for any new trade deals, NCTO supports President Trump’s preference for individual bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) over multilaterals.  Moreover, any new FTA targets should be limited to countries that trade in a fair, reciprocal manner.  NCTO would oppose any FTAs with non-market economy countries like China and Vietnam because of their demonstrated ability to disrupt the U.S. textile market.

NCTO welcomes President Trump’s view that U.S. has made a mistake by not prioritizing trade enforcement in recent years.  NCTO intends to make this issue a point of emphasis in the coming months because curtailing customs fraud and enforcing trade laws incentivizes reshoring. Moreover, due to the extremely high volume of trade in our sector, the textile industry is especially susceptible to customs fraud.

For FY 2017, the U.S. International Trade Commission reports calculated duties for all imports for domestic consumption was $34.8 billion, including $13.5 billion in textile and apparel-related goods.  With billions at stake, lax U.S. customs enforcement entices unscrupulous importers to avoid duty payments.

To reduce customs fraud, the United States must put a higher priority on enforcement.  This means devoting more resources to investigate those who are avoiding duties by purposely undervaluing U.S. imports, illegally circumventing U.S. free trade agreement rules of origin via third-country transshipment, or other fraudulent means.  In addition, penalties for customs fraud must be certain, swift, and sufficient to deter this harmful, illegal activity.

Stopping customs fraud has the added benefit of more than paying for itself.  The U.S. Treasury will collect more duty revenue and more textile supply chain production and jobs will shift to the United States and the broader NAFTA and DR-CAFTA regions.

NCTO also supports tough U.S. action against countries that engage in predatory trade practices.  Noting that this problem is pervasive among non-market economies, NCTO welcomes the Trump administration’s rejection of China’s demand to be recognized as a market economy under the World Trade Organization.  This decision prevents China from arguing that their manufacturing cost structures are fair and transparent with respect to trade enforcement actions.

One final trade priority is the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill, a pro-jobs measure vital to U.S. competitiveness.  NCTO urges swift enactment of the Miscellaneous Tariff Act, legislation providing duty relief on manufacturing inputs that are unavailable domestically and do not compete with other U.S.-made products.

Moving on to tax policy, NCTO welcomes the tax reforms enacted by President Trump and Congress.  Lowering the corporate rate and providing for more favorable capital expensing will encourage more manufacturing investment in the United States.

President Trump’s initiatives to cut unnecessary regulation are pro-jobs too.

With respect to government procurement policy, NCTO steadfastly supports the Berry Amendment.  This “buy American” provision for the military is an example of how the government and private sector can work together for mutual benefit.  The U.S. military gets a secure U.S. supply line for thousands of superior, highly-advanced products.  In return, the domestic textile sector receives $1.5 to $2 billion in annual Defense Department sales that boost U.S. investment and employment.

NCTO is deeply concerned by congressional attacks on the Berry Amendment in recent annual defense bills, including the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.  NCTO urges Congress to reject any proposals to weaken the Berry Amendment, and instead work to strengthen the law.

NCTO also encourages Congress to include textiles in any efforts to enact commonsense laws or regulations that would strengthen “buy American” requirements applying to infrastructure or other federal spending.  As demonstrated by Berry, when the federal government buys “American,” it is good for the U.S. textile industry and even better for America.

NCTO urges Congress to follow President Trump’s lead by drafting and passing a comprehensive plan to rebuild America’s infrastructure.  Besides boosting U.S. productivity and facilitating commerce, infrastructure is a key market for textile products such as workwear, geosynthetics, and filtration systems.  Infrastructure is a growing market for textile composites too.

Fostering a national culture of innovation is also important.  NCTO urges continued support for the Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA). This Defense Department-funded program is matched three to one with private dollars and tasked with making it easier to develop and commercialize the next generation of high-performance textiles.

NCTO also calls for the U.S. government to invest in improving automation for garment assembly because this technology shows promising potential to reshore U.S. textile and apparel production and jobs.

Another NCTO priority is ensuring that the U.S. textile industry has uninterrupted access to reasonably priced energy.  Most man-made fibers are derivatives of petroleum products and many textile producers are reliant on natural gas to power manufacturing operations.  Noting this, NCTO supports construction of expanded oil and gas pipeline capacity to keep energy prices low.

Finally, the U.S. textile industry must acknowledge its workforce is aging, making the recruitment of new talent a priority.  U.S. companies must continue to forge links with local and state leaders, and educators to make sure government policy nurtures a labor pool both adequate in size and well prepared to succeed in a competitive global economy.

OTHER NCTO ACTIVITIES

On March 8, NCTO announced a merger, effective April 1, with the American Fiber Manufacturers Association (AFMA), a fellow trade group representing domestic manufacturers of man-made fiber.

From NCTO’s perspective, the merger with AFMA adds new members, financial resources and extends NCTO’s political reach.  It also enhances NCTO’s status as the voice of every facet of the U.S. textile production chain, a fact that will help NCTO more effectively influence policies being made in Washington that impact U.S. textile investment, production and workers.

From AFMA’s perspective, as a multi-billion industry, it is critical that the U.S. man-made fiber sector remain engaged in Washington.  Merging with NCTO allows U.S. fiber producers to keep its seat at the federal policy table.

As I have just outlined, NCTO is involved in the policymaking process on all major matters affecting the textile production chain.  This includes key international trade negotiations, congressional initiatives, federal procurement, and regulatory activity.  This merger, will allow the domestic fiber sector to be fully aware of what is transpiring in these areas and to have an effective voice in influencing policy outcomes.

In other activities, NCTO’s American Textiles: We Make Amazing campaign is helping to rebrand the U.S. textile sector’s image because its manufacturers have a great story to tell.  America’s textile industry is world class thanks to leveraging the most cutting-edge production processes, investing in the best machinery, and leading in sustainability and innovation.

Campaign highlights include:

  • Launching a new website to promote the U.S. textile industry
    • Textiles in the News (TIN), textilesinthenews.org, debuted March 15
    • TIN is a sister website to NCTO’s trade association website, ncto.org,
    • Platform to drive policymakers and opinion leaders to content that rebrands the U.S. textile industry along the American Textiles: We Make Amazing™ message
    • Includes newsfeed updated every business day, regularly posted NCTO-produced original content & a link to NCTO’s Twitter feed
  • Publishing a third edition of Textures, NCTO’s member magazine
  • Emailing a weekly news blog, also called Textiles in the News
  • Publishing the quarterly NCTO Newsletter
  • Posting planned social media on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn
  • Regular public relations outreach to selected media
  • Generating more than $3 million in earned media coverage

Judging by the engagement generated by American Textiles: We Make Amazing™ marketing efforts, more and more people are getting an accurate, positive description of our sector, and as a result, are viewing the U.S. textile industry in a new light.

CONCLUSION

Although the U.S. textile industry is world-class, it cannot afford to rest on its laurels. There will always be intense and sometimes unfair competition from abroad, changing consumer demands and inevitable economic downturns.

Fortunately, the Trump administration wants to spur manufacturing output and jobs, and it is incumbent upon the U.S. textile industry to seize this generational opportunity to usher in a new era of growth.  With so much at stake, I implore all members of NCTO to stay active in this indispensable association that is fighting to promote the interest of our industry here in Washington.

I also invite domestic textile manufacturers who have not been active in Washington but want to change textile policy for the better, to join NCTO.  Good policy does not materialize from thin air, and NCTO must have the financial and political resources necessary to help build a stable and prosperous future for U.S. textile companies.  In short, our workers and their families and communities are depending on your involvement and leadership.

Thank you for the opportunity to be Chairman of NCTO for this past year.  It has been a privilege to serve this great industry.

 

[1] Source: U.S. Census Bureau Annual Survey of Manufactures (ASM).  Data covers NAICS categories 313 (Textile Mills), 314 (Textile Product Mills), 315 (Apparel), and 32522 (Artificial and Synthetic Fibers and Filaments).  2017 Data for NAICS 32522 is not yet available.  Our 2017 estimate for the value of shipments in that category is $7.3 billion.

[2] Source: U.S. Census Bureau Annual Survey of Manufactures (ASM).  Data covers NAICS categories 313 (Textile Mills), 314 (Textile Product Mills), 315 (Apparel), and 32522 (Artificial and Synthetic Fibers and Filaments).  2017 Data for NAICS 32522 is not yet available.  Our estimate for the value of shipments in that category is based on data from 2016.

[3] Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Annual Capital Expenses Survey (ACES).  Data covers NAICS categories 313 (Textile Mills), 314 (Textile Product Mills), and 315 (Apparel).

[4] Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Cotton Council, and the American Sheep Industry Association.

[5] Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

[6] Source: Data for textiles and apparel is from The Export Market Report produced by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA).  U.S. export data for cotton, wool, and fine animal hair is calculated from the U.S. International Trade Commission Interactive Tariff and Trade DataWeb using HTS Codes 5101, 5102, 5103 (wool), 5201, 5202, and 5203 (cotton).

[7] Source: U.N. COMTRADE Database, HTS Chapters 50-60

[8] Source: U.S. Commerce Department and U.S. International Trade Commission

[9] Id.

 

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CONTACT:  Lloyd Wood
(202) 822-8028
lwood@ncto.org

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