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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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CONTACT: Kristi Ellis

202.684.3091

www.ncto.org

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NCTO Statement on Administration’s 90-Day Tariff Deferral

WASHINGTONThe National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), representing the full spectrum of U.S. textiles from fiber through finished products, issued a statement from NCTO President and CEO Kim Glas today, voicing concern over the administration’s executive order instituting a non-reciprocal 90-day deferral on certain tariffs. The temporary postponement of duties does not apply to products with antidumping or countervailing duties or those products subject to penalty duties under Section 232, 201 and 301.  As further details of the order emerge, we are closely reviewing the implications for the U.S. textile industry.

“At a time when domestic textile producers and its workforce have mobilized to transform their production lines to manufacture the personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies for frontline healthcare and medical workers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, the administration’s decision to defer duties for 90 days on the vast majority of products imported into the United States is counterproductive.

This move contradicts the administration’s top stated priority of rebuilding American manufacturing and buying American and could have severe negative implications for the entire U.S. textile industry, whose companies and workforce already are facing enormous economic hardship.

We support the need to temporarily eliminate barriers to the entry of emergency medical supplies and certain PPE inputs tied directly to the COVID-19 response. But make no mistake, the key drivers behind efforts to defer tariffs have nothing to do with facilitating access to PPE products or stopping the spread of COVID-19.

Our industry is being asked to do extraordinary things.  We are heeding that call, but we need help to ensure the supply chains we are creating overnight don’t evaporate tomorrow.  We need strong procurement policies and additional funding for our industries to ramp up and retool – not further measures that incentivize offshore production. We need to maximize the U.S. domestic production chain right now to every extent possible in helping fight COVID-19 and make the products American frontline workers desperately need. 

We need to provide immediate and substantial relief to our manufacturing sector and their workforce who are suffering enormously right now. It’s critical that we have a long-term U.S. government plan to ensure that we aren’t relying on offshore producers to make medically necessary, live-saving PPE.  We shouldn’t be providing handouts to reward the very companies that helped offshore these industries so many years ago.

Tariffs are one of the few mechanisms in place to help partially address the challenges U.S. manufacturers face in competing with imports from countries with exceptionally low wages, poor working conditions, and minimal environmental and safety standards.”

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

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

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CONTACT: Kristi Ellis

(202) 684-3091

www.ncto.org

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NCTO Statement on Administration’s Reported Tariff Deferral


WASHINGTONThe National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), representing the full spectrum of U.S. textiles from fiber through finished products, issued a statement from NCTO President and CEO Kim Glas today in response to the administration’s plan to institute a 90-day deferral on MFN tariffs,  as reported by numerous press outlets.

The reported plan being pushed by the importing and retailing industries would defer certain tariffs, including those on finished apparel products. It is an ill-advised policy that will hurt the U.S. textile industry at the very time it is answering the call of the nation to produce medical supplies to battle the coronavirus pandemic. 

NCTO has been at the forefront of the efforts to deploy resources, converting production lines to manufacture urgently needed medical supplies like face masks and their textile components,  to address the critical need for personal protective equipment and other medical and sanitation supplies in the fight against the coronavirus.

These unnecessary tariff concessions would benefit importers and retailers at the direct expense of manufacturers on the front lines of the COVID-19 response and send a demoralizing message.

Tariff deferrals would severely exacerbate ramifications for the U.S. economy, manufacturers and workers and open the floodgates for imports.

If the U.S. government makes tariff concessions during this crisis, it will be inviting a virtual tsunami of imports further devastating domestic manufacturing as it attempts to regain its footing.     

We urge the administration to abandon any moves to defer tariffs on finished products. It would only serve to allow importers to exploit the current crisis, while dealing a severe blow to U.S. manufacturing and its workers.  

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

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

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CONTACT: Kristi Ellis

(202) 684-3091

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NCTO Releases Statement on Coronavirus

WASHINGTON DC—National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) President and CEO Kim Glas issued the following statement today on the industry’s response to the coronavirus crisis.

The coronavirus has impacted Asian textile and apparel manufacturing productivity and output, and our concerns lie with the affected companies and workers during this terrible crisis.

The U.S. textile industry continues to be ready, able, and willing to help in any way possible. Our industries have been in touch with U.S. government officials to help identify key U.S. textile suppliers to provide surgical masks and other items to help contain the spread of the coronavirus. In addition, several companies have donated much-needed medical textile supplies and other sanitary items to help address this outbreak.

Given the uncertainty in the market as a result of the coronavirus, many textile and apparel sourcing executives are seeking alternatives outside of Asia. We stand ready to assist brands and retailers looking to shift sourcing during this uncertain time. The Western Hemisphere production platform established under our free trade agreements and trade preference programs provides a sound alternative as companies look to diversify their sourcing. The region has immediate capacity to meet worldwide demands with duty-free access through well-established supply chains.

Whether this terrible crisis lasts days, months, or longer – our member companies are ready and willing to help.

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 594,147 in 2018. 
  • The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $76.8 billion in 2018. 
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $30.1 billion in 2018. 
  • Capital expenditures for textile and apparel production totaled $2.0 billion in 2017, the last year for which data is available.

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NCTO Statement on Signing of Phase One Deal on 301 Tariffs

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), representing the full spectrum of U.S. textiles from fiber though finished sewn products, released the following statement on the Phase One Deal on 301 tariffs signed today by the U.S. and China.

“While we are still studying the details of the deal signed today, we applaud the administration for finally pressing China for a more rational and equal trade relationship,” said NCTO President and CEO Kim Glas. “Our industry has been severely damaged by China’s predatory practices over the past 30 years and we are anxious to see a new era of sound trade principles and balanced trade.

At the same time, we question the last-in, first-out approach to the tariff reductions.  In our sector, this means that the penalty 301 tariffs on finished apparel and sewn products–the areas where tariffs have the most potential to effect reforms in China while bolstering the Western Hemisphere supply chain– are cut in half while U.S. manufacturers continue to face full tariffs on certain inputs and equipment not available domestically.”

For more information on NCTO’s position on the Section 301 China tariffs, please see here:

NCTO Comments on the Administration’s Announced Phase One Deal on 301 Tariffs December 13, 2019

NCTO Welcomes Administration’s Inclusion of Finished Apparel Textile Products on China Tariff List August 13, 2019

NCTO President CEO Kim Glas Testifies at U.S. Trade Representative’s Hearing on Proposed 301 Tariff List June 20, 2019

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 594,147 in 2018. 
  • The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $76.8 billion in 2018. 
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $30.1 billion in 2018. 
  • Capital expenditures for textile and apparel production totaled $2.0 billion in 2017, 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 President & CEO Kim Glas Testifies at U.S. Trade Representative’s Hearing on Proposed 301 Tariff List

WASHINGTON, DC – National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) President and CEO Kim Glas is testifying at a public hearing today in support of the administration’s efforts to crack down on China’s abuse of intellectual property rights through the use of the Section 301 mechanism, while also calling on the administration to include finished apparel and home furnishings in any retaliatory tariffs against China.

Glas is joining several other NCTO member companies today to testify at a U.S. Trade Representative hearing as part of the administration’s consideration of the Tranche 4 of retaliatory tariffs on U.S. imports from China.

“If the United States truly wants to resolve China’s rampant IPR abuse, pillar sectors of the Chinese economy will need to be included on the 301-retaliation list,” Glas said in prepared remarks for today’s USTR hearing. “Leaving sectors that are highly sensitive within China’s economy off the list has actually weakened U.S. leverage throughout the negotiating process, delaying a long overdue remedy to this systemic trade problem.”

“To effectively respond to China’s predatory practices in our sector, we believe the administration needs to address the exports from China that are disrupting our market and distorting trade: exports of end items to the United States,” Glas said.

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 only represent 6.5 percent, according to government data.

NCTO is “pleased the proposed Tranche 4 includes finished imported items from China, which have the most significant impact on U.S. employment, production and investment,” Glas said.

“We believe this move will lead to the re-shoring of production to the United States and the Western Hemisphere production platform—and will also address and mitigate China’s rampant trade distortions,” she added.

However, Glas said the industry has serious concerns that certain inputs “already vetted by the administration and removed from previous retaliatory tariff lists are back on this list for proposed duties. These inputs include but are not limited to: machinery, dyes and chemicals and textile components not available domestically, like rayon staple fiber.”

“Adding tariffs on imports of manufacturing inputs that are not made in the U.S. in effect raises the cost for American companies and makes them less competitive with China,” Glas said, calling for the earlier exclusion reviews to be upheld. In addition, Glas also urged the U.S. government to institute a fair, transparent and expeditious exclusion system for all retaliation tranches.

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 594,147 in 2018.
  • The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $76.8 billion in 2018.
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $30.1 billion in 2018.
  • Capital expenditures for textile and apparel production totaled $2.0 billion in 2017, 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 Companies Testify at U.S. International Trade Commission Hearing on Proposed 301 Tariff List

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) and several of its member companies are set to testify at the U.S. Trade Representative’s nearly two-week long hearing on the proposed Section 301 tariff list as part of the administration’s ongoing review and consideration of the Tranche 4 of retaliatory tariffs on U.S. imports from China.

Daniel Nation, Director of Government Relations for Parkdale Mills, a member of NCTO, will kick ff the U.S. textile industry’s testimony on the first day of the hearing.

China’s rampant abuse of intellectual property rights and intellectual property theft has spanned decades at the direct expense of the U.S. textile industry and its supply chain, largely contributing to the U.S. trade deficit with China in textile and apparel products—totaling $46.5 billion in 2018—and the loss of 1 million manufacturing jobs in this critical sector.

“There is little doubt that China’s extreme position in the global textile and apparel marketplace has been advanced by an elaborate system of illegal practices, that include state sponsored subsidies, unethical labor and environmental practices and theft of intellectual property,” Nation said in prepared remarks for today’s USTR hearing. “Consequently, Parkdale supports the existing Section 301 case against China.”

However, Nation stressed the effectiveness of the administration’s case has been “greatly diminished through the omission” of finished textile and apparel products from the various retaliatory tariff lists.

“Including finished textile and apparel products on the 301 retaliation list would greatly enhance the administration’s leverage in the ongoing negotiations and help redirect trade in this sector to the Western Hemisphere,” Nation said. The Western Hemisphere is a top export market for the U.S. textile industry, representing $15.7 million in textile and apparel exports.

“NCTO is pleased the proposed Tranche 4 includes finished imported items from China, which have the most significant impact on U.S. employment, production and investment,” said NCTO President and CEO Kim Glas, who is scheduled to testify at the hearing on June 20. “We believe this move will lead to the re-shoring of production to the United States and the Western Hemisphere production platform.  It’s critical we address and mitigate China’s rampant trade distortions.”

“While NCTO members support the inclusion of finished products in Tranche 4, we are seriously concerned that certain inputs already vetted by the administration and removed from previous retaliatory tariff lists are back on this list for proposed duties,” Glas noted. “Adding tariffs on imports of manufacturing inputs that are not made in the U.S. such as certain chemicals, dyes, machinery and rayon staple fiber in effect raises the cost for American companies and makes them less competitive with China.  We firmly believe the integrity of the earlier exclusion process should be upheld.”

“We also urge the U.S. government to institute a fair, transparent and expeditious exclusion system for all retaliation tranches,” Glas added.

“Lastly, we want to flag that the administration’s 301 efforts are being undermined by shipments under the $800 Section 321 de minimis threshold, which are not subject to the retaliatory tariffs – or any tariffs.  Section 321 is a substantial and growing loophole that gives China backdoor duty-free access to the U.S. market at a time when the administration is spearheading efforts to address China’s unfair trade practices,” Glas said.  “This should be rectified both in the 301 and broader context.”

NCTO and its member companies are strongly encouraging the USTR’s office and President Trump to adopt the following recommendations:

  • enact the proposed 25% penalty tariffs on finished apparel items and other sewn products;
  • maintain the previous product input exemptions that were vetted by the U.S. government and granted and excluded from previous tranches;
  • institute a transparent, fair and expeditious exclusion system for all tranches;
  • and apply 301 retaliatory tariffs to Section 321 de minimis shipments.

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 594,147 in 2018. 
  • The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $76.8 billion in 2018. 
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $30.1 billion in 2018. 
  • Capital expenditures for textile and apparel production totaled $2.0 billion in 2017, 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 Testifies at U.S. International Trade Committee Hearing on USMCA

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) held a public hearing on November 15-16 in Washington, D.C. as part of its investigation of the likely impact of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) on the U.S. economy.

National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) President & CEO Auggie Tantillo testified on Panel 4, General Manufacturing, on Friday, November 16, the hearing’s second day.

Tantillo’s testimony as prepared for delivery is below:

Testimony of Auggie Tantillo, President and CEO
National Council of Textile Organizations

U.S. International Trade Commission Hearing on the
United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement 

November 16, 2018

On behalf of the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), thank you for the opportunity to provide input regarding the recently negotiated United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).  NCTO represents the full spectrum of the U.S. textile sector, from fibers to yarns to fabrics to finished products, as well as suppliers of machinery, chemicals, and other products and services with a stake in the prosperity of our industry.  The entire U.S textile manufacturing chain, from fiber through finished sewn products, employs 550,000 workers nationwide.  In 2017, the industry manufactured nearly $78 billion in output, while exporting more than $28 billion of our production.

I want to preface my remarks by stating that NCTO has not yet adopted a formal position on USMCA.  We have produced a detailed internal analysis on the agreement for our members and have solicited their feedback.  Once we have reviewed input from our membership, the NCTO Board will come to final position that we will then make public.

With that said, it is important to note that the United States, Canada, and Mexico have built a vibrant and prosperous textile production chain over the 24-year life of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  In 2017, total textile and apparel trade between the three countries was approximately $20 billion.  U.S. exports accounted for more than $11 billion of this trade, with Canada and Mexico serving as our two largest export markets worldwide.

These figures compare to just $7 billion in textile trade between the three countries in 1993, the year prior to NAFTA’s implementation.  An understanding of this data validates that the current, yarn-forward structure embedded in NAFTA has been highly successful, providing significant benefit to North American manufacturers throughout the entire textile production chain.

It is for this reason that NCTO is very pleased that the basic textile origin rules adopted originally in NAFTA were essentially reaffirmed in USMCA.  Further, we commend the three governments for creating a separate textile chapter in the new agreement as opposed to relegating textiles to an annex of the broader market access provisions.  A stand-alone chapter recognizes the sensitivities associated with trade in this sector and allows for unique provisions, such as separate and enhanced customs enforcement language over the original NAFTA.  Enforcement is critical in the textile sector as the lucrative duty-free benefits create enormous incentives for fraud.

In terms of changes to the original text, NCTO is very supportive of revisions that will require the use of USMCA-origin sewing thread, pocketing, narrow elastics, and coated fabrics in certain end items.  While there are transition periods associated with these new requirements, their ultimate inclusion should offer a boost for U.S. producers formerly left out of the origin rules in the original NAFTA.  We estimate the USMCA market to be $250 million annually for sewing thread for apparel applications and $70 million annually for pocketing.

We are also appreciative of a key change made in the Government Procurement Chapter of USMCA regarding the Kissell Amendment, which is a Buy American statute for textiles that applies to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  Kissell requires 100% U.S. content, with very limited exceptions, for purchases by the Coast Guard and Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Regarding TSA procurement, Kissell has a problematic loophole tied to NAFTA that has allowed Mexico to supply these contracts.  As a result, under the terms of NAFTA, Mexico can supply TSA uniforms made from Mexican fiber, yarn, and/or fabric.  The TSA Mexico loophole translates to a significant weakening of U.S. Buy American statutes.  Noting that DHS spent $34 million on clothing and textiles for TSA in FY2017, closing the Kissell loophole was a substantive change from NCTO’s perspective.

While all the items mentioned to this point are clear improvements to the original NAFTA, there was one key area of disappointment, from our perspective, with USMCA.  NAFTA incorporated a major exemption to the yarn-forward origin requirement through a system of Tariff Preference Levels (TPLs). TPLs allow products to be shipped duty free among free trade partner countries even though the components within the product are sourced from countries that are not signatories to the agreement.

While NAFTA TPLs have annual limits that cap their impact to a degree, more than $641 million in textile and apparel TPL shipments entered the U.S. last year.  As such, eliminating the TPLs was a primary focus of NCTO’s in the NAFTA renegotiation.  While USMCA did reduce the size of some specific TPLs, the reductions will not cut into existing trade levels.  This outcome is frustrating given the President’s stated goals of increasing benefits for U.S. manufacturers and eliminating provisions that have helped non-signatory countries, such as China, take advantage of tariff preferences intended for North American producers.

Conclusion

As stated earlier, NCTO is not yet in a position to communicate a formal position on USMCA.  We hope to have a decision finalized soon, which will be shared with both the Administration and Congress as soon as we complete our review process.

Nonetheless, it is accurate to state that in an overarching fashion, the new agreement is an improvement over the original NAFTA in many areas.  This is certainly the case for U.S. manufacturers of component parts such as thread, pocketing, narrow elastics, and coated fabrics.  There is also a clear victory on the Kissell amendment and a strong upgrade in customs enforcement.  With our strong disappointment in the TPL outcome noted, we are also grateful for the Administration’s willingness to work with domestic manufacturers in an effort to improve this important agreement.

Thank you for this opportunity to provide input, and I would be pleased to answer any questions that you may have at this time.

[NCTO testimony as prepared for delivery end]

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

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