2017 State of the U.S. Textile Industry

WASHINGTON, DC – Outgoing 2016 National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) Chairman Robert “Rob” H. Chapman, III delivered the trade association’s 2017 State of the U.S. Textile Industry overview at NCTO’s 14th Annual Meeting on March 23 at the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC.

Mr. Chapman’s statement outlined (1) U.S. textile supply chain economic, employment and trade data as well as (2) the 2017 policy priorities of domestic textile manufacturers.  The text of his remarks as prepared for delivery are included in this press statement along with an economic data infographic and a “Check the Tag” illustration of U.S. textile industry’s trading relationship with Mexico.

Mr. Chapman is Chairman and CEO of Inman Mills, a yarn and fabric manufacturer headquartered in Inman, South Carolina. 

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.

CONTACT:  Lloyd Wood
(202) 822-8028



8:30 AM ET


What a difference one year can make.  Consider the following.  In March, 2016:

  • There were still five Republican candidates for President
  • Bernie Sanders had won 15 of 29 Democratic primaries
  • No one seemed concerned about a possible exit of Great Britain from the European Union, and
  • The Chicago Cubs still had not won a World Series since 1908

How history went on to unfold reminds us of just how much change can occur in twelve months.  And nowhere has change been more dramatic than in Washington, D.C.  Unforeseen by most pollsters and pundits, the election of President Trump turned conventional political wisdom on its head and reignited debate on largely stagnant policy issues ranging from trade to tax and immigration reform.

Consequently, if there was ever a time for the U.S. textile industry to fully marshal its resources and decisively engage in Washington, it is now.  Thanks to the new Trump policy dynamic, the next twelve months represent the best opportunity in a generation to reorient U.S. manufacturing policy, level the playing field, and usher in a new era of growth for U.S. textile makers.

Before delving into policy matters, however, a statistical recap of how the industry fared in 2016 is in order.

THE NUMBERS                                                                                                                                                                          

Thanks to a laser-like focus on boosting productivity, flexibility, and innovation, the U.S. textile industry has cemented its position in the global market.

In 2016, the value of U.S. man-made fiber and filament, textile, and apparel shipments totaled an estimated $74.4 billion, an increase of 11 percent since 2009.[1]

The breakdown of 2016 shipments by industry sector is:[2]

  • $30.3 billion for yarns and fabrics
  • $24.0 billion for home furnishings, carpet, and other non-apparel sewn products
  • $12.7 billion for apparel
  • An estimated $7.4 billion for man-made fibers

Capital expenditures also are healthy.  Investment in fiber, yarn, fabric, and other non-apparel textile product manufacturing has climbed from $960 million in 2009 to $1.7 billion in 2015 – an increase of 75 percent.[3]

Our sector’s supply chain employs 565,000 workers.[4]  The 2016 figures include:

  • 113,900 jobs in yarns and fabrics
  • 115,000 jobs in home furnishings, carpet, and other non-apparel sewn products
  • 131,300 jobs in apparel manufacturing
  • 25,700 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 employment figures, 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 $26.3 billion in 2016. [6]  Shipments to NAFTA and CAFTA-DR countries accounted for 56 percent of all U.S. textile supply chain exports. 

The breakdown of exports by sector is as follows:

  • $4.0 billion – cotton and wool
  • $4.5 billion – yarns
  • $8.6 billion – fabrics
  • $3.6 billion – home furnishings, carpet, and other non-apparel sewn products
  • $5.6 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 3rd largest individual country exporter of those products in 2015.[7]

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

  • $11.5 billion – NAFTA
  • $3.2 billion – CAFTA-DR
  • $7.0 billion – Asia
  • $2.8 billion – Europe
  • $1.8 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
  • $1.6 billion – Canada
  • $1.3 billion – Honduras
  • $759 million – China
  • $439 million – Dominican Republic

(see footnote 10 for top 4 export markets by country for entire textile supply chain)[10]

Wrapping up the numbers, the fundamentals for the U.S. textile industry remain sound. This is true even though the U.S. market for textiles and apparel was soft in 2016.  For the most part, the sluggishness was due to factors beyond the industry’s control: an underperforming U.S. economy, a weak global economy, and disruption within the retail sector as sales shift 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 2017 moves along.


Another cause for optimism is President Trump’s forceful call to reinvigorate domestic manufacturing.  For decades, U.S. policy has undervalued domestic manufacturing’s importance to America, and President Trump is right to question whether this has been good for the country.

Precisely because they will stimulate manufacturing and kick start job creation, NCTO enthusiastically endorses President Trump’s macro policy objectives of fighting for free, but fair trade, enforcing U.S. trade laws, making the U.S. tax code more internationally competitive, cutting unnecessary regulation, revitalizing infrastructure, buying American, ensuring cheap energy, and fixing health care.

Drilling down to the details, NCTO agrees with President Trump that U.S. trade policy must be changed to reflect the reality of the twenty-first century economy for it to truly benefit a broad swath of American society.

That is why NCTO supported President Trump’s executive action to withdraw the United States from the twelve-country Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) even though NCTO had endorsed the agreement just one year earlier.

To better understand the rationale behind this strategic repositioning, please recall that NCTO worked tirelessly to persuade the previous administration that TPP should include all provisions necessary to prevent any sudden surge of imports from Vietnam that would be capable of disrupting the U.S.-Western Hemisphere textile and apparel supply chain.  Indeed, NCTO is grateful to the Obama administration for partnering with the U.S. textile industry on TPP to negotiate:

  • a strong yarn-forward rule of origin for the vast majority of products;
  • reasonable duty phase-outs (10-12 years) for most sensitive products;
  • provisions that would have maintained a stable Western Hemisphere production chain; and,
  • customs provisions that capture the critical enforcement aspects of previous agreements.

Noting that NCTO had leveraged its prospective support for TPP in return for the Obama administration securing these vital objectives, it was incumbent upon NCTO to be true its word and endorse TPP when the Obama administration kept its end of the bargain.

The 2016 election of President Trump, however, brought about a dramatic change on trade. President Trump’s fundamental opposition to TPP allowed NCTO to revisit its position and communicate to his transition team soon after the election that NCTO supported withdrawal from TPP.

Mindful that President Trump also had signaled interest in pursuing individual bilateral free trade agreements with TPP countries, NCTO further communicated opposition to any bilateral free trade agreement with Vietnam because of that country’s non-market economy and its demonstrated ability to disrupt the U.S. textile market.

Unlike TPP, NCTO strongly supports NAFTA because it is a pillar upon which the U.S.-Western Hemisphere supply chain is built.  At $11.5 billion combined, Mexico and Canada are the U.S. textile industry’s largest export markets.  Moreover, Mexico provides a vital garment assembly capacity the United States largely lacks.

That said, NCTO agrees with President Trump that NAFTA should be reviewed and can be improved.  For example, NAFTA’s yarn-forward rule of origin contains loopholes like tariff preference levels (TPLs) that benefit third-party countries, such as China at the expense of U.S. industry.  Closing them would boost U.S. textile production and employment.

NCTO also strongly endorses President Trump’s call for much tougher trade enforcement.  Trade deals grant lucrative duty-free preferences to importers, thereby creating significant enticements for would-be wrongdoers.  Stopping customs fraud has the twofold benefit of filling Treasury Department coffers and encouraging more production in the NAFTA and DR-CAFTA regions.

Without hesitation, the United States should focus more resources on customs enforcement to aggressively investigate those who purposely undervalue U.S. imports to avoid duties or who illegally circumvent U.S. free trade agreement rules of origin via third-country transshipment or through other fraudulent means.  In addition, penalties for customs fraud must be certain, swift, and sufficient to deter this harmful, illegal activity.

Also within the trade enforcement realm, NCTO supports U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s proposal for the U.S. government to self-initiate anti-dumping and countervailing duty cases.  Other helpful actions the U.S. government should take include continued rejection of China’s demand to be recognized as a market economy and cracking down on illegal currency undervaluation.

One final trade priority is the enactment of a Miscellaneous Tariff Bill.  NCTO strongly supports duty relief on manufacturing inputs that are unavailable domestically and do not compete with other U.S.-made products.

That said, NCTO is concerned that the MTB process is being abused through the filing of hundreds of petitions on finished goods, particularly apparel.  On principle, NCTO opposes MTBs on finished goods because they often compete with like products made with U.S. inputs.  Duty reductions on finished textile items from any source can also undermine U.S. free trade agreements that grant duty relief through a yarn forward rule of origin.

Moving on to tax policy, NCTO wholeheartedly agrees that the U.S. tax code is in dire need of reform to make it more competitive internationally.  Lowering the corporate rate and allowing the immediate expensing of capital investment would be a significant benefit to NCTO members.  NCTO is also carefully studying the border adjustable taxation issue.  As a trade association representing U.S manufacturers and exporters, NCTO is keenly aware that foreign border tax schemes, including tax rebates to offshore competitors who export goods to our market, disadvantage U.S. producers.  As such, NCTO is poised to engage congressional leadership when any detailed border adjustable taxation legislation is put forth to thoroughly understand how that proposal may impact the textile industry.

NCTO is also pleased with President Trump’s initiative to cut unnecessary regulation and is encouraging its members to take advantage of the public comment period that closes on March 31 to submit ideas to improve the federal regulatory regime.

Rebuilding America’s infrastructure is another NCTO priority.  Besides boosting U.S. productivity and facilitating commerce, infrastructure is a growing market for textile products such as workwear, geomembranes, filtration systems, and composites for load-bearing systems.

Fostering a national culture of innovation is important too.  In that regard, NCTO urges President Trump to nurture the Advanced Functional Fabrics of America or AFFOA project. This Defense Department 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.

With respect to government procurement policy, NCTO is proud of its steadfast efforts to defend and strengthen the Berry Amendment.  This “buy American” provision for the military is an excellent example of how the government and the private sector can work together to the benefit of one another.  The U.S. military benefits from guaranteed access to 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.

Noting that the Trump administration and Congress appear serious about wanting to buy more American, NCTO would aggressively work to make sure textiles are included in any effort 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.

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.  In addition, many textile producers are reliant on natural gas to power manufacturing operations.  Noting this, NCTO strongly supports construction of expanded oil and gas pipeline capacity to keep energy prices low.

Finally, the U.S. textile industry must acknowledge that its most valuable resource, its workforce, is aging.  To keep thriving long term, American textile manufacturing must recruit a new generation of talented chemists, designers, engineers, skilled technicians, and semi-skilled labor.  To this end, U.S. companies must continue to forge links with local leaders, schools, and government, vocational programs, community colleges, universities, and state business lobbies to make sure that state and federal policy produces a labor pool both adequate in size and well prepared to succeed in a hyper-competitive global economy.


The industry’s need to attract America’s best and brightest is one reason why NCTO embarked upon the American Textiles: We Make Amazing rebranding campaign two years ago.

NCTO is pleased to report the campaign is slowly but surely challenging outdated perceptions of the U.S. textile sector thanks to the fact that American textile 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.

Judging by the earned media and social engagement generated by American Textiles: We Make Amazing marketing efforts, more and more people are hearing the good news and viewing the U.S. textile industry in a new light.


Although the U.S. textile industry has stabilized its position in the global economy, 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.

Again, that is why it is so important for the U.S. textile industry to seize this generational moment to influence federal policies if it wants to usher in a new era of growth.  With so much at stake in the next twelve months, members of NCTO and other textile trade associations must stay actively involved in their respective organizations.  Moreover, all domestic textile manufacturers who have not been active in Washington, but are serious about wanting a seat at the table to change textile policy for the better, are invited to join NCTO.  Good policy does not materialize from thin air, and NCTO must be well financed to affect the changes that will give our sector the best chance to build a stable and prosperous future for U.S. textile companies.  That’s a long way of saying the U.S. textile sector’s great workers and their families and communities are depending on the leadership of the industry’s leaders.

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


[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).  2016 Data for NAICS 32522 is not yet available.  Our 2016 estimate for the value of shipments in that category is $7.4 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).  2016 Data for NAICS 32522 is not yet available.  Our estimate for the value of shipments in that category is based on data from 2015.

[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

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

[9] Id.

[10] The top 4 exports markets by country for the entire textile supply chain are (1) Mexico – $6.3 billion, (2) Canada – $5.2 billion, (3) China, Hong Kong and Macau – $1.8 billion, and (4) Honduras – $1.5 billion respectively.

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NCTO Elects South Carolina Fiber Manufacturing CEO as 2017 Chairman

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) held its 14th Annual Meeting March 21-23 in Washington, DC.  Elected as NCTO officers for 2017 are:

  • Chairman – William “Bill” V. McCrary Jr.

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

o   Mr. McCrary also served as 2016 NCTO Vice Chairman

  • Vice Chairman – Marty Moran

o   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.

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.


CONTACT:  Lloyd Wood
(202) 822-8028

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Thursday, March 23 Session of NCTO Annual Meeting Open to Media; Includes 2017 State of the U.S. Textile Industry...

WASHINGTON, DC – The Thursday, March 23 session of the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) annual meeting in Washington, DC is open to the media.  It begins at 8:30 AM.

It features the 2017 State of the U.S. Textile Industry speech, and policy presentations on workforce, energy, tax reform, and buy America/infrastructure issues respectively.

Question and answer sessions will be open to NCTO members only; but as has been the case at previous annual meetings, NCTO officers will be available for media scrums as time permits.

March 23 Schedule of Events:

  • 8:30 – State of the U.S. Textile Industry

Rob Chapman, NCTO Chairman

Chairman and CEO – Inman Mills – Inman, SC

  • 9:00 – “Workforce Challenges Facing the U.S. Textile Sector”

David Hinks, Dean, College of Textiles, N.C. State University

  • 9:45 – “Current State of U.S. Energy Policy”

Kevin Leahy, Environmental and Energy Policy Director, Duke Energy

  • 10:30 Break

15 Minute-Break

  • 10:45 – “The Outlook for Tax Reform in 2017”

Carolyn Lee, Senior Director of Tax Policy, National Association of Manufacturers

  • 11:30 – “Buy American and U.S. Infrastructure Panel”

Nora Todd, Office of U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio

Tyler Rushforth, Former Counsel for Senate Environment and Public Works Committee

  • 12:15 p.m. – Installation of 2017 NCTO Chairman & Closing Remarks

Rob Chapman, 2016 NCTO Chairman

Bill McCrary, 2016 NCTO Vice Chairman (Incoming 2017 Chairman)

Chairman & CEO, William Barnet & Son LLC, Spartanburg, SC

Event Details:

  • DATE: Thursday, March 23
  • TIME: 8:30 AM ET
  • PLACE: The Capital Hilton
  • ROOM: Congressional
  • ADDRESS: 1001 16th ST NW
  • CITY: Washington, DC

RSVPs for both events are strongly encouraged because seating is limited.  Attendees may RSVP by emailing NCTO’s Lloyd Wood at lwood@ncto.org.

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.

CONTACT:  Lloyd Wood
(202) 822-8028

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NCTO Congratulates President Trump, Thanks President Obama; Eager to Partner with Trump Administration to Stimulate U.S. Textile Manufacturing

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) congratulates President Donald Trump on his inauguration as the 45th President of the United States of America.

“NCTO congratulates President Trump on his inauguration.  The U.S. textile industry is eager to partner with him to stimulate American jobs, production, and exports,” said NCTO President & CEO Auggie Tantillo.

“From fibers to finished fabrics, American companies make the highest quality and most innovative textiles in the world.  Given a level playing field, U.S. textile industry is primed for expansion,” Tantillo added as he noted the sector’s comeback from the 2008 financial crisis despite intense competition from Asian suppliers that often benefit from state subsidies and cents-on-the-hour wage rates.  Since the end of the recession in mid-2009, U.S. textile production has grown by 21 percent.

NCTO also would like to thank President Obama for his service to our great nation.  U.S. textile manufacturers are grateful for his administration’s work to improve the industry’s competitiveness,” Tantillo said.

Pointing out that President Obama created and funded a fiber and textile manufacturing innovation center, the Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA) and that his administration opened a direct and very sincere line of communication with NCTO on sensitive policy matters, Tantillo remarked, “The U.S. textile sector had a legitimate and impactful seat at the policy table in recent years, a privilege greatly appreciated.”

NCTO is a Washington, DC-based trade association that represents domestic textile manufacturers.  Visit our website at www.ncto.org and follow @NCTO on Twitter.

CONTACT:  Lloyd Wood
(202) 822-8028

January 20, 2017

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Check the Tag: How to Buy American When the Label Does Not Say “Made in the USA”

WASHINGTON, DC – Holiday spending in 2016 is expected to reach its highest point since the Great Recession, increasing 10 percent compared to last year.  So, what can consumers do if they want to buy American-made clothing and home furnishings when they do not see a “Made in USA” label on the product?

“Consumers have been taught since as far back as the Wool Products Act of 1939 to look at the tag to see what it’s made of and where it was made,” said National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) President and CEO Auggie Tantillo. “Nowadays, it is not that simple.  People who want to buy American need to understand that not all imports are created equal.”

Tantillo says there is a very good chance that imported clothing items such as shirts and pants contain American content like cotton, polyester, yarn, and fabric if the tag indicates the garment was made in a country in the Western Hemisphere.

“The American textile supply chain exports more than $10 billion in yarns and fabrics to Mexico and other Latin American countries.  When consumers buy clothing items from there, they are more likely to be supporting American manufacturing jobs,” Tantillo continued.  “On the other hand, if a garment is labeled ‘Made in China,’ it is almost certain that none of the yarns and fabrics used to make it come from the United States.”

To illustrate the U.S. contribution to the “Farm to Fashion” journey taken by a pair of pants, consider the following example.  Jeans or khakis with a label that says “Made in Mexico” likely were made with cotton grown on an American farm that then was spun into yarn and woven into fabric in American textile factories.  “In this case, only the sewing – the last part of the apparel production process – was done outside the United States,” Tantillo said, emphasizing that pants imported from Mexico and other Western Hemisphere countries often contain a high level of U.S. content and sweat equity. (See infographic for illustration.)

Industry analysis of pricing data suggests that when U.S.-made yarns and fabrics are used in making pants and shirts in Latin America, U.S. components typically comprise 50 to 70 percent of the value of the finished good.

“This is an important lesson for American consumers.  Simply by checking the tag and understanding the partnership between U.S. textile manufacturers and Western Hemisphere countries, shoppers can buy American even though the tag may not say so,” Tantillo concluded.

Below is a list of the U.S. trade partners under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA) who help turn American fabric and yarn into apparel and home furnishings, and then ship it back to domestic retailers to sell to consumers:


  • Canada
  • Mexico


  • Costa Rica
  • El Salvador
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Nicaragua
  • Dominican Republic

The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) is a Washington, DC-based trade association that represents domestic textile manufacturing.  To learn more about NCTO, visit www.ncto.org or follow @NCTO on Twitter.

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Lloyd Wood
(202) 822-8028

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NCTO Praises Textile Outcomes in FY 2017 Defense Bill

NCTO Praises Textile Outcomes in FY 2017 Defense Bill

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) applauded the Senate’s 92-7 vote to pass S. 2943, the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  With the House of Representatives having approved the conference report on December 2, the measure now goes to President Obama for his signature to be enacted into law.

“This is a good bill,” said NCTO President & CEO Auggie Tantillo.  “It supports American troops, strengthens our national security, and includes many provisions important to the U.S. textile industry,” he continued, noting that the Department of Defense (DOD) sourced roughly $1.5 billion in textiles and clothing last year under a buy-American procurement provision known as the Berry Amendment.

“On behalf of the U.S textile industry, I want to thank the House and Senate, their respective armed services committees, and all conferees for their hard work to keep America safe and the Berry Amendment strong,” Tantillo finished.

Listed below are favorable textile industry outcomes in the FY 2017 NDAA conference report.

  • There was no increase to the simplified acquisition threshold (SAT).  To trigger the Berry Amendment, contracts must exceed the $150,000 SAT.  A higher SAT creates the danger of contracts being broken up to fall below the threshold.  Threshold increase language was removed from the bill by the House Armed Services Committee during mark up.
  • The Berry Amendment was exempted from changes to the procurement of commercial items (Section 874 – see page 774, lines 17-21 of the linked FY 2017 NDAA conference report .PDF).
  • A voucher program for athletic footwear was ended and clear steps were taken toward ensuring all athletic footwear purchased by DOD is Berry-compliant (Section 817).
  • Lowest Price Technically Acceptable (LPTA) or reverse auctions are not appropriate contracting methods for DOD procurement of personal protective equipment where the level of quality needed or the failure of the item could result in combat casualties (Section 814).
  • DOD and the State Department were directed to brief key congressional defense and foreign relations committees on efforts to make U.S. manufacturers aware of procurement opportunities related to equipping foreign security forces approved to purchase or receive equipment from U.S. manufacturers (page 2688 of the linked FY 2017 NDAA conference report .PDF).

The Berry Amendment, 10 U.S.C. 2533a, requires that Department of Defense to buy textiles and clothing made with 100 percent U.S. content and labor.

NCTO is a Washington, DC-based trade association that represents domestic textile manufacturers.  Visit our website at www.ncto.org and follow @NCTO on Twitter.

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December 8, 2016
CONTACT:  Lloyd Wood
(202) 822-8028

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Denim One of Hottest Items in Global Wardrobe Fashion

WASHINGTON, DC – With fall fashion shows in New York and Paris in the rearview mirror, denim has emerged has one of the hottest wardrobe items in the fashion industry, both on the runways and sidewalks.

Elle magazine reports that designer denim was among the “best looks” of the 2016 Paris Fashion Week, which ended Oct. 5. Meanwhile, Racked.com, an online source for style and shopping, cited denim as the reason “the New York Fashion Week crowd was noticeably casual” at this month’s show.

“Denim is a wardrobe staple that never goes out of style, and as we saw during fall shows in the fashion capitals of the world, denim is changing the way we dress in the new season like no other,” said Dale McCollum, vice president for denim merchandising for Mount Vernon Mills, a manufacturer of denim products. “Denim is a timeless classic and the fall and spring seasons are peak production times for global denim manufacturers like Mount Vernon Mills.”

McCollum added that denim’s popularity in the U.S. can be traced to its iconic status alongside baseball, apple pie and other iconic brands. “Denim is ingrained in our culture and is a fabric that transcends time,” he said. “It subtly reminds us of the past, makes us feel good in the present and eases our anxiety concerning the future.”

Mount Vernon Mills’ Apparel Fabrics group operates one of the largest denim manufacturing facilities in the world and produces a wide variety of denim including washed, over-dyed and stretch fabrics. The company also is on the forefront of the innovation behind a fabric constantly evolving to meet customer styles and tastes.

“Advances in technology over the years have led to denim that is more wearable and stretchable, which results in more fashion options,” McCollum said. “Our business is focused on sharing our passion and inspiring how to make denim your own. Denim is always in style because it never goes out of style.”

Cone Denim, a leading supplier of denim fabrics to top denim apparel brands, has established a brand focused on core principles – innovation, art and American heritage – that drive denim fashion styles.

“The dichotomy of old alongside new is something distinctive to Cone Denim,” said Kara Nicholas, vice president of product design and marketing for Cone Denim. “Our 110-year-old White Oak plant runs a 1940s loom next to the modern looms, the next generation works alongside operators with 60 years of experience, and we still use a long-chain dyeing process developed by our employees in the 1920s that has become the gold standard in indigo dyeing. Thanks to our rich history, we are able to provide people with iconic denim.”

Denim, she added, also excites, inspires and gives wearers a feeling that you can’t quite pinpoint.

“Denim is something we talk about as being extremely personal. It’s unlike any other fabric, because it can adopt the characteristics of the person wearing the jeans,” Nicholas said. “People create a bond with their favorite pair of jeans. More than any other item in a closet, jeans tell your story.”

Denim enthusiasts worldwide recognize Cone Denim for its place in history as the creator of long-chain indigo dyeing, denim sanforization and Cone’s Deeptone Denim, introduced in 1936. Newer innovations in performance and sustainable denims continue under Cone’s R&D incubator, Cone® 3D. In addition, the White Oak mill is recognized for its re-creation of vintage selvage denim. Cone was also recently cited by Esquire magazine for its role in updating the iconic Levi 501 jeans to include stretch denim.

“It’s about connecting with people and meeting them wherever their love of denim lies – vintage or contemporary, light or dark, worn or like new,” Nicholas said. “No other fabric moves so easily from the New York City runway to rugged cowboy to workwear. Other fabrics don’t speak to people like denim.”

Denim’s importance in the fashion industry comes as the global popularity of the fabric continues its upward trajectory.  According to the Statistic Brain Research Group, the global denim market is a $56 billion industry, while in the United States alone, it is a $14 billion industry.

“As these numbers illustrate, denim is known the world over and they also speak to the fabric’s rightful place in the fashion industry,” said Augustine Tantillo, President and CEO of the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), a trade association representing textile makers in the United States.

  • To learn more about the U.S. textile industry and its innovative, world-class products, visit www.wemakeamzing.org.
  • There is a one minute American Textiles: We Make Amazing video about the industry.
  • Follow U.S. textile industry news and other happenings on Twitter @NCTO and by checking out the hashtag #WeMakeAmazing.

This release was posted on PR Web earlier today.
Download as PDF.
CONTACT:  Lloyd Wood
(202) 822-8028

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National Manufacturing Day Alert: U.S. Textile Industry Reinvents Itself

To celebrate National Manufacturing Day 2016, the National Council of Textile Organizations is publishing a list of “Did You Know” items to let Americans know about the industry’s resurgence.

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Green Textiles: Protecting the Future

If you look around, it’s likely that you’ll see at least one place where hook and loop fasteners from the VELCRO® brand are making life simpler for you. In fact, there are probably several; the textile product is ubiquitous.

It’s in the computer pouch that keeps your laptop safely ensconced during a jarring rush hour commute. It holds your car’s headliner fabric in place to ensure a quieter ride, and it keeps your sofa cushions perfectly stuffed so you can read your favorite book in comfort. From the intimacy of a child’s diaper to the daring of an armored tank (yes, it’s in there, too), the VELCRO® brand is in our lives more than we know.

“It’s not something that people really think about,” said Fraser Cameron, CEO of Velcro Companies, which owns more than 400 active patents and numerous trademarks. “It’s so fit for purpose that it’s almost obvious, yet not.”

The job the VELCRO® brand is doing to keep our daily lives comfortable is equally matched by the work the company itself does to keep our environment safe.

Velcro Companies Grows Environmental Efforts in the U.S. and Abroad

“We’ve done a lot in sustainable manufacturing – long before it was fashionable,” Cameron said.

From low-energy lights and occupancy sensors to processes designed to redirect waste at manufacturing facilities, Velcro Companies holds industry firsts in its sustainable manufacturing processes: first in the industry to remove solvents from coating processes, and the first to substantially reduce the use of heavy metals in its manufacturing. Yet, this ISO 14001 certified company knew it could do more.

“Our philosophy is about making connections, and we knew that if we wanted to make amazing connections with customers, we’d have to first make connections with the community,” he said. “We thought, ‘Let’s take it one step further.’ ”

That step included broadening environmental responsibilities to incorporate social responsibilities, and the company has almost completed construction of the largest charitable school in Cambodia.

Environmental efforts in the U.S. and abroad continue to grow, as well. Velcro Companies now has on-site generators to capture fossil fuel burn-off, and 98 percent of the electrical and thermal power is self-generated. Additionally, it is installing solar panels for energy generation. It is a company that is well on its way to meeting a self-set sustainability goal of reducing its carbon footprint by 20 percent by 2025.

Velcro Companies has 2,500 employees, including about 600 in Manchester, New Hampshire, the site of its U.S. headquarters. It’s for the employees that many of these initiatives were founded.

“Surveys tell us sustainability is crucial to employee satisfaction,” said Cameron, who describes employees as high-tenure, including some who stay with the company 40 or 50 years. “Many of our employees spend a lifetime making our product. We want to ensure the product’s attributes, and the way the product is made, make them proud.”

Auburn Manufacturing, Inc., Takes Sustainability Full-Circle

Kathie Leonard knows something of company pride. She is the owner and president of Auburn Manufacturing, Inc., in Mechanic Falls, Maine, just over 100 miles from Velcro Companies’ New Hampshire facility.

“We’ve been making textiles for 36 years, and people can’t believe we’re in the business we’re in and live happily in Maine,” Leonard said of the state that she fell in love with and never left after what was supposed to be a short visit in the 1970s. “But we’re good corporate citizens. We have to be. What you do – good or bad – follows you with only 1.2 million people in the state.”

Auburn is a manufacturer of high-performance coated textiles and composite fabrics for extreme temperature applications and end-use products including welding blankets, curtains and pads. Its manufacturing is extremely efficient: the use of water-based materials for coatings offers less volatility and very little waste; and, instead of sending waste fabrics to landfills, Auburn donates the remnants to welding schools for their use as protective fabrics.

Auburn’s sustainability story goes full-circle with innovative product development that has helped the company’s customers in their own sustainability efforts.

Many of Auburn’s products go into insulation applications as components to other products, such as custom-made, removable insulation covers for heavy equipment in mechanical rooms. The insulation protects odd-shaped equipment that pipe insulation can’t cover; however, the unusual shapes and sizes needed for some areas require handcraftsmanship that is expensive and sometimes cost-prohibitive for institutions such as hospitals, colleges and government facilities.

Leonard describes a typical mechanical room in the basement of a building on a college campus.

“The pipes are covered, but the components are not,” she said. “You’re losing heat in all those places where the pipes connect, and it’s rising into the classrooms and libraries from the rooms below it. It’s like insulating your attic, but leaving your front door wide open.”

As a result, greenhouse gas emissions – and energy costs – rise.

“Our silicone-coated fabrics are generally used on the outside of those custom products,” Leonard said. “We thought, ‘Why don’t we help these folks make the component covers more quickly and inexpensively so they can save energy?’ ”

Auburn Manufacturing created a kit that features the company’s coated fabrics in a composite that is easy to customize – like contact paper with pre-measured squares that can be cut to size, she says. Auburn’s kit also includes hook-and-loop fasteners.

“We’ve provided an easy, cost-effective way for facilities to cover those components, and they’re reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by up to 8 percent,” she said. “It’s a big movement in a lot of these institutions, for the retrofit market and new construction.”

Auburn also created a similar kit with a water vapor barrier for chilled water systems; it keeps the cold in and prevents corrosion of the pipe.

“Sustainability is a way for the textile industry to show off what it knows,” Leonard said. “There’s a lot of knowledge and a lot of technology incorporated into textiles.”

Fraser Cameron of Velcro Companies echoes the sentiment.

“What you can do with a textile product is quite extraordinary,” he said. “At the core, our goal is to go beyond what people might possibly expect. We have a story of undiscovered heroes in our industry.”

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Protecting the Brave Abroad

Resiliency, ingenuity and trust: these are words that describe the long-standing, symbiotic relationship between the American textile industry and the U.S. armed forces.

In 2014, the U.S. military paid the textile industry $1.5 billion for 8,000-plus textile items. During more active engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan, spending increased to more than $2.2 billion. Textile companies across the country deliver a range of products from ballistic fabric body armor material to lightweight camouflage systems for tents, tanks and military structures.

“The industry is constantly working to strike a balance between what’s economical and what’s the best, safest product,” said Mia Hill, industrial business manager at Glen Raven. “Military products are far from an ordinary piece of fabric. They’re a protective system that has to be ready for any situation a soldier may face.”

Greenwood Mills, which recently celebrated 126 years of business, supplies fabrics to the U.S. military, protective clothing and specialty industrial markets. The brand strives to produce materials that protect soldiers from biological and chemical agents, as well as extreme weather.

“Investing in research and technology is imperative. R&D makes it possible for us to bring new, innovative, smart textiles to the ever-changing needs of the soldier,” said Jay Self, president of Greenwood Mills. “During the First Gulf War, soldiers found that sand cut through 100 percent cotton material; so, we devised a more durable nylon cotton blend that can withstand desert environments. The material is still used today.”

Additionally, the textile industry is evolving to meet military weight requests. Producers are cognizant of the many items a soldier has to carry in the battlefield – backpack, weapons system, bulletproof vest, helmet and more – and are working with top military researchers to create lighter-weight products that don’t compromise on integrity.

“More efficient equipment allows us as soldiers to focus not on ourselves, but rather the most important part of our work, the mission at hand,” said Philip Tonseth, West Point graduate and second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. “The Armed Forces operate in a multi-threat world, and any advantage that our equipment can provide is not only appreciated by the soldier, but is also necessary for success.”

Companies like Greenwood Mills and Glen Raven are doing just that – protecting committed soldiers from all kinds of threats. Greenwood Mills specifically engineers material for each branch of the military. For example, Marine uniforms are treated with insect repellent, and flame-resistant uniforms protect those facing the risk of IEDs. Glen Raven produces an ultra-lightweight camouflage system (ULCANS) that not only hides military structures from the naked eye, but also deflects plane radar systems.

“An immense amount of passion and ingenuity are poured into each and every military textile creation. The immediate post-9/11 years are a perfect example; during that time, textile workers labored 13 of every 14 days to ensure enough military fabric was available,” said Self. “The textile community expresses its admiration and support through production – it’s why we work tirelessly to provide our soldiers with the safest, most reliable, most advanced textiles on the market.”

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