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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NCTO Launches New Website “Textiles in the News”

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) launched Textiles in the News (TIN), a new website promoting the U.S. textile industry.  The website’s URL is http://www.textilesinthenews.org.

The first original content is an opinion piece by NCTO President & CEO Auggie Tantillo titled “Why NCTO Launched Textiles in the News.”

As part of NCTO’s American Textiles: We Make Amazing™ public relations effort to rebrand the U.S. textile industry, TIN’s mission is to showcase the dynamism of the U.S. textile industry and cover the policy issues that disproportionately impact the sector through:

  • Linking to the most relevant news and opinion pieces produced by other media outlets about or affecting the U.S. textile industry
  • Generating original content, including news and opinion from U.S. textile industry leaders and policy experts
  • Tracking U.S. textile industry social media posts

“While some may have an outdated perception of the U.S. textile industry, those working in the sector know it is a global powerhouse,” said NCTO President & CEO Auggie Tantillo.

“As a national trade association representing domestic textile manufacturers, NCTO wants to make sure policymakers, business leaders, journalists, prospective workforce entrants and others have greater awareness of this crucial fact.  This is the rationale behind creating TIN,” Tantillo continued.

Noting that trade press and international, national and local media outlets are posting compelling content daily about plant expansions, new products, innovation and policy issues important to the textile supply chain, Tantillo said, “NCTO’s Textiles in the News website is designed to make these exciting and informative developments easy to access, track and digest.”

“For those interested in U.S. textiles, and the extremely positive and pervasive impact our industry is making to better our lives, please visit TIN.  NCTO trusts you will find the website compelling and informative,” Tantillo added.

“To the media, please keep generating great stories on the modern U.S. textile industry.  NCTO wants to drive readers to that content.” Tantillo finished.

NCTO is a Washington, DC-based trade association representing the U.S. textile industry.

NCTO’s TIN website was built by AS Creative Services, a Rockville, MD-based web design firm and its newsfeed is powered by Meltwater, a leading international provider of Media Intelligence.

Key facts about the U.S. textile industry include:

  • 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 last year, a 16% increase since 2009.
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $28.6 billion in 2015.
  • 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, Fiber Trade Associations Announce Merger

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) and the American Fiber Manufacturers Association (AFMA) announced a merger of their respective organizations effective April 1, 2018.

NCTO Chairman William V. “Bill” McCrary Jr., Chairman & CEO, William Barnet & Son, Spartanburg, S.C. said, “The NCTO merger with AFMA strengthens the U.S. textile industry’s ability to influence federal policy.  It brings new members and financial resources to NCTO and extends the organization’s political reach.”

“It also cements NCTO’s status as the voice of every facet of the U.S. textile production chain, a fact that will help NCTO to more effectively influence federal policies that affect U.S. textile investment, production and workers,” McCrary added.

AFMA Chairman Mark Ruday, Senior Vice President, DAK Americas, Charlotte, N.C. said, “AFMA’s merger with NCTO will allow U.S. fiber producers to keep the sector’s seat at the federal policy table.”

“As a multi-billion industry with tens of thousands of employees, it is critical that the U.S. man-made fiber sector stay engaged in Washington,” Ruday continued.

Noting that NCTO constantly monitors and engages in all major textile policy matters that impact the entire production chain, including key international trade negotiations, congressional initiatives and federal procurement and regulatory matters, Ruday said, “Merging with NCTO will ensure the U.S. fiber manufacturers have an effective voice on policy matters affecting the sector.”

The merged organization will be called by the name National Council of Textile Organizations, and NCTO President & CEO Auggie Tantillo will continue in that position.

NCTO is a Washington, DC-based trade association representing the U.S. textile industry.

Four councils, Fiber, Yarn, Fabric & Home Furnishings, and Industry Support comprise NCTO’s leadership structure.  Each represents a major sector of the U.S. supply chain and elects its own officers who make up NCTO’s board of directors.

AFMA is an Arlington, Va.-based trade association representing U.S. companies that manufacture synthetic and cellulosic fibers.

  • 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 last year, a 16% increase since 2009.
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $28.6 billion in 2015.
  • 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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Textile Industry Praises Trump China NME Decision, Urges Aggressive Trade Enforcement

WASHINGTON, DC — With President Donald Trump headed to Asia this November 3-14 to visit Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines, the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) praised the Trump administration’s recent determination reaffirming China’s non-market economy status for antidumping purposes and called for even more aggressive U.S. enforcement to crack down on unfair trade practices.

“The evidence could support no other decision,” said NCTO President & CEO Auggie Tantillo as NCTO concurred with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s exhaustively researched determination that China is still a non-market economy.

Tantillo added, “Properly defining China as a non-market economy simply confirms what every U.S. manufacturer already understands — China has a set of unfair and extraordinary advantages that allow them to displace investment, production and employment in our market.”

“We encourage President Trump to use his trip to Asia to reaffirm his commitment to enforcing America’s trade laws fairly, but resolutely,” Tantillo continued, pointing to public comments filed by NCTO[1] suggesting additional reasonable activities the U.S. government could undertake to improve trade enforcement, thereby creating more good jobs.

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

  • U.S. employment in the textile supply chain was 565,000 in 2016.
  • The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $74.4 billion last year, a nearly 11% increase since 2009.
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $26.3 billion in 2016.
  • Capital expenditures for textile and apparel production totaled $2 billion in 2015, the last year for which data is available.
  • NCTO is also a member of Manufacturers for Trade Enforcement, a multi-industry coalition supporting the continued designation of China as a non-market economy.

[1] See page 12.

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NCTO Statement on Passing of Mark Kent, CEO of KENTWOOL

WASHINGTON, DC – Mark Kent, CEO of Greenville, South Carolina-based KENTWOOL, an innovative producer of wool yarn, hosiery and other textile products, died on September 24. He was 55.

Reacting to Kent’s death, National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) President & CEO Auggie Tantillo said, “Mark’s unexpected passing is another severe and tragic blow for the U.S. textile industry. He was an expert in his field who cared deeply for his workers and the communities that relied on KENTWOOL to provide employment and investment.”

“From a national policy standpoint, Mark’s insight and direction on issues impacting the U.S. wool textile sector will be especially missed.”

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

  • U.S. employment in the textile supply chain was 565,000 in 2016.
  • The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $74.4 billion last year, a nearly 11% increase since 2009.
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $26.3 billion in 2016.
  • Capital expenditures for textile and apparel production totaled $2 billion in 2015, the last year for which data is available.

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Robert H. Chapman, III, 1951-2017; Past NCTO Chairman, Was Chairman & CEO of Inman Mills

WASHINGTON, DC – The immediate past chairman of the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), Robert “Rob” H. Chapman, III, died August 23.  He was 66.  Chapman was the Chairman & CEO of Inman Mills, a yarn spinning and fabric weaving company headquartered in Inman, South Carolina.

“On behalf of the U.S. textile industry, NCTO extends its deepest sympathies to the Chapman family and everyone at Inman Mills,” said NCTO President & CEO Auggie Tantillo.

“Rob’s legacy is immense.  In the last two decades, globalization, particularly the entry of China into the World Trade Organization, triggered the most disruptive change ever experienced by the U.S. textile industry.  When other companies were going out of business, Inman Mills responded with a strategy of innovation, reinvestment and a willingness to adapt.  Today, thanks to Rob’s dedication and foresight, Inman Mills is one of the shining lights in the renaissance of the U.S. textile industry,” Tantillo continued.

“Rob was also leader in crafting the U.S. textile industry’s Washington, D.C.-based policy response to globalization.  It speaks volumes that Rob’s peers chose him to lead NCTO in 2016-2017 when debate on the now failed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the biggest challenge to the U.S. textile industry since China’s 2001 entry into the WTO, was coming to a climax,” Tantillo added. 

“Finally, on a personal note, Rob was a close friend.  He was a true gentleman, unfailingly courteous, loyal and generous.  Soft spoken and quick to deflect credit to others, Rob was a fierce competitor, driven by the desire to help his community and industry.  Most of all, Rob loved his family and his many associates at Inman. He dedicated his life to their well-being.  If there ever was any doubt that builders can build faster than destroyers can destroy, Rob was living proof.  He will be greatly missed, but his legacy will long endure,” Tantillo finished.

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

·       U.S. employment in the textile supply chain was 565,000 in 2016. 

·       The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $74.4 billion last year, a nearly 11% increase since 2009. 

·       U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $26.3 billion in 2016. 

·       Capital expenditures for textile and apparel production totaled $2 billion in 2015, the last year for which data is available.

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Textile Industry Files Comments on Trade Agreement Violations and Abuses

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) filed public comments late yesterday afternoon in response to President Trump’s executive order directing the federal government to investigate violations and abuses of U.S. trade agreements.

“A thorough investigation of trade agreement abuses and violations is long overdue and we appreciate President Trump’s desire to finally review this important matter,” said NCTO President and CEO Auggie Tantillo.

“If America is to fix the systemic problems that plague the international trading structure and stop trade cheats from driving American production offshore, policymakers need a better understanding of the illegal or unfair trade tactics that are being used to hurt U.S. industry, including textiles,” Tantillo finished.

A notice for public comments (82 FR 29622) was issued by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) on June 29, 2017 pursuant to Executive Order 13796 signed by President Trump on April 29, 2017. Documents associated with this matter are archived under Docket USTR-2017-0010.

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

• U.S. employment in the textile supply chain was 565,000 in 2016.
• The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $74.4 billion last year, a nearly 11% increase since 2009.
• U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $26.3 billion in 2016.
• Capital expenditures for textile and apparel production totaled $2 billion in 2015, the last year for which data is available.

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NCTO CEO Testifies at USTR NAFTA Hearing, Outlines U.S. Textile Renegotiation Objectives

WASHINGTON, DC – National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) President & CEO Auggie Tantillo testified at the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) hearing on Negotiating Objectives Regarding Modernization of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico held in Washington, DC on Tuesday, June 27.

In his remarks as prepared for delivery, Tantillo outlined the U.S. textile industry’s NAFTA negotiating objectives:

“On behalf of the National Council of Textile Organizations, thank you for the opportunity to provide input as USTR develops its objectives for modernizing NAFTA.  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 565,000 workers nationwide.  In 2016, the industry manufactured over $74 billion in output, while exporting more than $26 billion of our production.

We strongly support President Trump’s intention to reopen NAFTA and agree that it can be updated and improved to significantly enhance U.S. textile production, exports, and employment.  The NAFTA region enjoys vibrant fiber, yarn, and fabric sectors in addition to cut and sew capabilities.  As a result, NCTO supports building on the successes of NAFTA through seeking reasonable improvements to the agreement, but not a cancellation thereof, due to the high level of supply chain integration that exists today.

This partnership is evidenced by robust trade flows.  The U.S. textile sector has a demonstrated capability of developing export markets within the NAFTA region.  In fact, Mexico and Canada are our two largest export markets, where U.S. textile and apparel exports topped $11 billion in 2016.  Furthermore, we maintain a positive trade balance in the sector with our NAFTA partners, achieving a $3.5 billion surplus last year.

NCTO does not foresee a need to reinstate tariffs on NAFTA-qualifying trade.  Instead, we recommend a thorough review of the rules of origin to ensure that lucrative tariff benefits are appropriately reserved for manufacturers within the region.  NAFTA is based on a yarn-forward rule of origin for textile and apparel trade, a main driver for the integration that has developed among the three countries.  Yarn forward was originally devised under NAFTA and is the accepted rule for the industry and the U.S. government in every free trade agreement (FTA) since because it reserves key benefits for manufacturers within the signatory countries.  It is also easier to enforce than a value-added rule.

Despite the logic of the yarn-forward structure, most U.S. FTAs, including NAFTA, also contain damaging loopholes in the textile rules of origin.  The most egregious example is tariff preference levels.  Tariff preference levels (TPLs) allow for products to be shipped duty free despite their components, representing the bulk of the value, being sourced from outside countries.  For example, a cotton top, made from Chinese yarn and fabric, can be cut and sewn in Mexico and shipped duty free to the United States.  Consequently, TPLs undermine benefits for NAFTA textile manufacturers, transferring them to non-signatories, such as China, who often use predatory trading practices and have made no market-opening concessions themselves.

Altogether, Mexico and Canada may ship nearly 236 million square meter equivalents of apparel, made-ups, and fabric and 12.8 million kilograms of yarn containing third-party inputs annually under the TPLs.  It is our strong recommendation that the NAFTA TPL regime be eliminated.

Beyond TPLs, there are other yarn-forward derogations, including assembly-only rules for certain garments.  These additional loopholes warrant analysis to determine whether they should be eliminated or adjusted to enhance the benefits for U.S. textile manufacturers under the agreement.   We also believe that there should be a review of certain buy-American concessions that were unnecessarily granted to our NAFTA partners.

As a final point, it is our view that there has been a systematic deemphasis of commercial fraud enforcement at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) over the past 30 years.  CBP suffers from both a lack of resources and focus particularly considering the layering of new trade agreements and significant increase in imports over this time.  As a result, the benefits of NAFTA are being siphoned off by those willing and able to circumvent U.S. trade laws.  Our sector is especially prone to fraud, noting that textiles and apparel represent 40 percent of all U.S. duties collected, or $14 billion a year.  Clearly, improving NAFTA customs enforcement should be a major focus of this renegotiation.

In conclusion, we fully agree with President Trump that NAFTA can be improved through a set reasonable adjustments to the current text designed to enhance U.S. textile manufacturing and exporting.  Further, we believe that by closing unnecessary loopholes in the agreement and placing a greater emphasis on customs enforcement, all parties throughout the NAFTA region will benefit.  Doing so will help to build on the vibrant textile and apparel production chain in North America that has evolved under NAFTA.

Thank you for your consideration of our views, and NCTO looks forward to working with the Trump administration as the NAFTA modernization effort progresses.”

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CONTACT:  Lloyd Wood
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U.S. Textile Industry Files Public Comments on NAFTA Renegotiation Objectives; Eager to Work with President Trump to Improve Deal

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) filed public comments with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) outlining the U.S. textile industry’s priorities in the forthcoming renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  (The comments are pasted at the bottom of this release.)

“The U.S. textile industry welcomes President Trump’s decision to renegotiate NAFTA,” said NCTO Chairman William V. McCrary Jr., Chairman and CEO of William Barnet & Son, LLC, a synthetic fiber/yarn/polymer firm headquartered in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

“It is in America’s national interest to modernize the agreement and NCTO is eager to work with President Trump to make it even better,” McCrary continued.

“Let me be clear: NAFTA is vital to the prosperity of the U.S. textile industry, and NCTO steadfastly supports continuing the agreement.  With that said, NAFTA can be improved to incentivize more textile and apparel jobs and production in the United States, Canada, and Mexico,” McCrary added. 

“Eliminating loopholes that shift production to third-party countries like China and devoting more customs enforcement resources to stop illegal third-country transshipments are two changes that would make the agreement better,” McCrary said.

“We look forward to working with our industry partners throughout the NAFTA region to improve this agreement for all,” McCrary finished.   

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer formally notified Congress on May 18, 2017 that President Trump intended to renegotiate NAFTA.  This action triggered a request for public comments found at 82 FR 23699 and dated May 23, 2017 (Docket: USTR–2017–0006).  That public comment period closes today. 

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

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CONTACT: Lloyd Wood
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lwood@ncto.org

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