WASHINGTON – Milliken & Company and American
& Efird (A&E) hosted United States Trade Representative (USTR)
Ambassador Katherine Tai in two separate visits to the companies’
state-of-the-art textile manufacturing facilities today, marking an
unprecedented visit to the heart of the U.S. textile industry in the Carolinas
by the nation’s top trade chief.
Ambassador Tai’s visit comes at a pivotal time for
the U.S. textile supply chain, which produced $64 billion in output in 2020 and
employed nearly 530,000 workers. The industry has been at the forefront of a
domestic production chain manufacturing over a billion personal protective
equipment (PPE) items during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ambassador’s visit to Milliken included a tour
of the company’s Magnolia plant in Blacksburg, S.C., and a roundtable
discussion highlighting the important role women contribute to textiles, the
critical need for policies supporting a domestic supply chain, and the
significant impact of the sector to the U.S. economy. Milliken is one of the
largest textile companies in the U.S., employing more than 6,000 associates
domestically and an additional 1,350 associates globally. Milliken’s Textile Business
alone employs 2,500 people across eight counties in South Carolina and is the fourth
largest manufacturing employer in the Upstate.
honored to host Ambassador Tai at our Magnolia plant to discuss not only the
invaluable contributions we make every day to our community and our nation, but
also the importance of sound trade policies that bolster domestic production
and the co-production chains we have built, in particular with our Western
Hemisphere trading partners,” said Chad McAllister, executive vice president of
Milliken & Company and president, Textile Business. “To have Ambassador Tai
on-site at one of our U.S. facilities is an opportunity to showcase our breadth
of innovation in the industry and our passionate team of American workers who help
our business succeed. We are fortunate and thankful for Ambassador Tai’s
leadership as well as her commitment to understanding the challenges and
opportunities of our industry.”
Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai said, “I want to thank NCTO for
organizing this event. As United States Trade Representative, I am committed to
helping all of your companies build on the success by finding market
opportunities and helping reach new customers. I want to ensure that our trade
policy matches the innovation and changes happening in the textiles industry.
With your help, we can continue addressing critical issues. In doing so, we
will help the textiles industry maintain its competitive edge and ensure it
remains a global standard-bearer in the years to come.”
On the second leg of
her trip, Ambassador Tai visited American & Efird’s manufacturing facility
in Mount Holly, N.C. American & Efird operates as part of Elevate Textiles
and its global portfolio of advanced products and distinguished textile brands,
including A&E, Burlington, Cone Denim, Gütermann and Safety Components, and
representing more than 500 years of textile manufacturing knowledge.
visit, U.S. textile executives spanning the fiber, yarn, fabric, and finished
product textile and apparel industry participated in a roundtable with the
Ambassador at which they discussed the competitiveness of the domestic
industry, outlined priority issues in Washington, such as the importance of the
Western Hemisphere co-production chain and ways to jointly support domestic
supply chains through Buy American and Berry Amendment policies that help
onshore production, spur investment, maintain the safety and security of our
armed forces and generate new jobs.
“It was an honor hosting Ambassador Tai at our
manufacturing facility in Mount Holly, employing 380 valued associates and just
2 miles from where the company started 130 years ago,” said Sim Skinner, CEO of
Elevate Textiles. “A&E maintains a significant manufacturing footprint in
the Carolinas with 1,200 total associates, and we contribute significantly to
our local community and the entire manufacturing base in the United States,
touching every aspect of life, from the threads in Superbowl footballs to flags
on the moon and most recently, to the very PPE products protecting our
frontline heroes and fellow Americans against COVID-19 and the Space X suits
that are orbiting Earth right now. We had an engaging discussion with the
Ambassador on our company’s and industry’s innovation and competitiveness, and
on the policy priorities that we believe will help ensure our competitiveness
and long-term investment in the domestic textile industry.”
National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO)
President and CEO Kim Glas said, “We want to sincerely thank Ambassador Tai for
visiting Milliken and American & Efird today. Her leadership in the
international trade policy arena and her understanding of the unique challenges
confronting domestic manufacturers and U.S. workers under the international
trade system is unparalleled. The U.S. textile industry is one of the most dynamic,
innovative industries in the U.S. economy and our co-production chain with our
Western Hemisphere trade partners is essential.
Trade policies are essential to this manufacturing sector and workforce.
We look forward to working closely with the Ambassador and her office to
advance policies that bolster domestic production.
“We are grateful to Ambassador Tai for participating
in an engaging and substantive discussion with industry leaders today on a
whole host of policies, ranging from the importance of Buy American and Berry
Amendment government procurement policies to maintaining strong rules of
origins in free trade agreements to the need to address larger systemic trade
issues with China.”
About American & Efird (A&E)
a portfolio company of Elevate Textiles, is the foremost manufacturer and
distributor of premium quality industrial and consumer sewing thread,
embroidery thread and technical textiles. Producers of apparel,
automotive components, home furnishings, medical supplies, footwear and a
diverse range of industrial products rely on A&E industrial sewing thread
to manufacture their products. Customers select A&E as the preferred
choice because of A&E’s dedication to providing its customers with the
finest products and services, at the highest quality, delivered globally.
In addition to A&E’s steadfast commitment to superior quality and
customer service, A&E is a recognized industry leader in environmental
sustainability and corporate social responsibility, and operates its global
facilities with the utmost regard for the safety and health of its associates
About Milliken & Company
Materials science expert Milliken
& Company knows that a single molecule has the
potential to change the world. With innovative solutions across the textile,
flooring, specialty chemical, and healthcare industries, Milliken answers some
of the world’s greatest challenges. Named to the World’s Most Ethical Companies
list by Ethisphere Institute for 15 straight years, the company meets the
moment with an unwavering commitment to delivering sustainable solutions for
its customers and communities. Eight thousand associates across 46 locations
globally rally behind a common purpose: to positively impact the world for
generations. Discover more about Milliken’s curious minds and inspired
solutions at milliken.com
and on Facebook,
NCTO is a Washington, DC-based trade
association that represents domestic textile manufacturers.
- U.S. employment in the textile supply chain was 530,000 in 2020.
- The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $64.4 billion in 2020.
- U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $25.4 billion in 2020.
- Capital expenditures for textiles and apparel production totaled $2.38 billion in 2019, the last year for which data is available.