US nearshoring vision closer than ever on global supply chain snafu

A recent documentary has explored US nearshoring, and Kristi Ellis, VP of communications at the National Council of Textile Organisations (NCTO) believes it is closer than ever to becoming a reality, but policy is needed to secure its long term sustainability. (Read the column on Just Style here.)

By Guest Author

Nearshoring, probably a pipe dream for many US brands just a short while ago, is now closer than ever.

The Financial Times and its global business columnist, Rana Foroohar, have produced one of the most honest and accurate portrayals of the adverse effects of globalisation on US textile manufacturing over the past two decades, while capturing the industry’s current renaissance in the wake of the Covid pandemic.

In this documentary film entitled “Manufacturing in America, postglobalisation,” Foroohar looks at why the US should bring manufacturing jobs back home and highlights the existing textile industry which has played an instrumental role in supplying thousands of products for all industrial segments, the military, consumer market, and personal protective equipment (PPE) to the public and private sector.

In the second of three films, based on her new book, “Homecoming: The Path to Prosperity in a Post-Global World,” Foroohar follows the all-American supply chain of clothing company American Giant to see how it impacts jobs, businesses and communities.

American Giant CEO and founder Bayard Winthrop, Parkdale chairman and CEO Anderson Warlick, Carolina Cotton Works president Bryan Ashby, and National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) president and CEO Kim Glas, among others are all featured in the newly release film.

“I wanted to make this film about US manufacturing, because I believe that we are at a turning point. Since the 1980s manufacturing jobs have plummeted. In the constant drive to make things cheap, factories and jobs were moved overseas. Textiles were hit especially hard,” Foroohar says in the opening of the film. “But I want to show you how post pandemic there is a new regionalisation of industry taking place. And jobs are starting to move back. It’s about being focused not on what is cheapest but about creating better jobs for local communities.”

Globalisation’s impact and the China Effect

 The film opens in a cotton field in North Carolina and takes us on a US manufacturing journey stretching from the field to all points in the production chain and finally to a store shelf in New York.

It is a narrative within a broader narrative about how “prioritising efficiency over resilience, and profits over local prosperity, has produced massive inequality, persistent economic insecurity and distrust in our institutions,” which was expertly outlined in Foroohar’s new book.

Foroohar provides new arguments on why a post-global industrial strategy is needed and the “rise of local, regional and homegrown business is now at hand.”

Thirty years ago, the US was leading the textile sector, Foroohar explains in the film, but globalisation advocates and forces coupled with other seismic international trade actions, such as China’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), exacted a heavy toll on the US manufacturing sector.

“What we were told was that we needed to normalise our relationship with China so that they would play by the rules,” says Glas in the film. “So their accession to the WTO, granting them Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) status — there’s nothing normal about it. We have suffered greatly.”

On globalisation and China’s accession to the WTO former US trade representative ambassador Robert Lighthizer notes: “There was this kind of hubris that the world had changed and that market forces forever now were going to move us in the direction of economic growth and freedom throughout the world and all these notions, which were lovely except they just don’t exist.”

Foroohar notes that many in the US manufacturing sector “feel that free trade was never really free, because it didn’t account for the lower labour and environmental standards that allowed a lot of countries overseas to make things more cheaply.”

“Free trade is about price optimisation and consumption,” Lighthizer says. “I think the important thing is production. Production leads to good jobs, good wages and solid fundamental American communities.”

Lighthizer believes the drive to globalisation saw the US effectively giving away its prosperity, Foroohar notes.

“If there is a sacrifice of a price of a T-shirt or your third television set, in order to have strong communities in America, that’s the sacrifice that I’m willing to make,” Lighthizer adds.

On globalisation and access to US markets, Parkdale chairman and CEO Anderson Warlick notes: “This is the largest economy in the world and the price of admission is not that high and it should be. They should pay their share just like every American taxpayer.”

It’s like letting other athletes start a 100-metre race closer to the finish line, she says citing Warlick.

“Competition is good and Americans thrive on competition. Now free trade? That’s a unicorn I’ve been chasing for 30 years, trying to find anybody in the world that practiced it,” Warlick says. My best way of describing it is, it’s economic treason.”

Resurgence of resilient nearshoring US textile supply chain

 Yet, even as companies rushed to offshore production, gutting the US manufacturing sector’s workforce, a core industry remained here and thrived.

The film focuses on one US company’s perseverance and success, under the leadership of American Giant’s CEO Winthrop.

“The original idea behind the company was to reclaim the very high quality American-made stuff. I had felt that… the care and the passion and skill and craft and work that goes into making a product was not just important from an understanding about how you build quality product but emotionally important and societally important,” Winthrop says.

“The idea that there isn’t a good textile capability in the United States anymore is nonsense.”

Foroohar observes that American Giant’s supply chain encompasses cotton gins, mills, knitting and sewing factories all within a 120-mile radius.

“That not only cuts down on shipping costs. It also means he knows his clothing is in line with American environmental and labour standards.

For Bayard, it’s about keeping relationships and expertise close to home.”

Winthrop embraces that proximity to the entire supply chain, noting that standing in a cotton field talking to farmers about varietals and crop production is critical. “It’s creating that connection to the men and women involved in highly complicated processes of making the things we consume today.”

For Parkdale Mills, a major cotton yarn spinner and supplier to American Giant, “it’s all about being able to compete in a global marketplace, leveraging efficient production in the US to go up against the cheap cost of labour overseas,” Foroohar explains.

“We invest heavily in technology to create better efficiencies, to create better quality, roughly US$500m in the last 10 years to create more automation to have the latest, greatest equipment to prepare the fibre and to spin the yarn,” says Davis Warlick, executive vice president of Parkdale.

Warlick adds, “We are constantly striving to make things more automated in order to compete, I think that’s been one of the reasons we are still here.”

Cautious optimism prevails in the US textile industry. The pandemic and ensuing global supply chain crisis has turned the long-standing global sourcing paradigm on its head, forcing retailers and brands to diversify out of China and move production closer to home. And that is driving a renewed sense of optimism.

But Bryan Ashby, president of Carolina Cotton Works, stresses that policymakers must provide a long-term commitment to building the domestic supply chain.

“It’s great for a politician to stand in front of a microphone and say: ‘Let’s bring jobs back to America,’ but show us the commitment by giving us some sort of reason to believe that 18 months from now the narrative doesn’t flip and we all of a sudden want to sell industries out.”

One need look no further than the latest US government trade data as evidence that onshoring and nearshoring is ticking upward.

“We have seen historic investment in the US textile production chain as well as in our Central America free trade agreement partners, including Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador,” Glas said. “We expect over $1bn of new investment to go into Central America this year alone for textiles. That’s an indication the world’s changed.”

About the author: Kristi Ellis is vice president of communications at the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO). The NCTO is an association that is the voice of the entire spectrum of the textile industry. There are four separate councils that comprise the NCTO leadership structure, and each council represents a segment of the textile industry and elects its own officers who make up NCTO’s board of directors.

Valdese Weavers: Taking Sustainability to the Next Level

Valdese Weavers has been working with recycled yarns for nearly 20 years but in a bid to elevate its sustainability profile, the company turned to the SEAQUAL INITIATIVE based in Spain.

A leading fabric and textile producer that has been manufacturing residential and contract textiles for the furniture market in the foothills of North Carolina for more than 100 years, Valdese Weavers is widely considered to be an industry leader for designing and innovatively weaving beautiful decorative fabrics.

While the company takes pride in being a Made-in-USA manufacturer, one of its loftier goals has been to minimize its impact on the environment and the planet’s natural resources.

Valdese Weavers has used yarns recycled from plastic bottles for the past two decades to produce its environmentally-conscious products, especially in its contract division, but company officials began searching a few years ago for new ways to expand their sustainability efforts and achieve more innovative, sustainably-minded solutions to attack the existing problem of ocean pollution.

Fast forward to today and the journey has led Valdese to a dizzying array of new initiatives, including: a licensing arrangement with a Spanish non-profit organization named the SEAQUAL INITIATIVE; the launch of a new line of performance fabrics made from recycled ocean fabrics, InsideOut Performance Fabrics®; a collaboration with an award-winning artist; and a museum exhibit that opened on Friday (Nov. 4) at the Hickory Museum of Art in Hickory, N.C.

“We have been trying to find next steps of sustainability in terms of materials for several years,” says Christy Almond, vice president of product development and marketing at Valdese Weavers. “We have said ‘no’ to a lot of product material ideas that did not have an authentic story or durability, did not meet where we felt industry was headed, had inconsistent supply chains, or the price was out of line.”

In 2018, Valdese discovered the SEAQUAL INITIATIVE. After studying the non- profit organization’s mission, Almond says Valdese determined it could “take our recycling story to the next level.”

This organization founded on creating a collaborative community against pollution has brought together an extensive network of individuals, organizations, and companies “working together to help clean our oceans, raise awareness of the issue of marine litter and highlight those helping to fight it.”

“Their goal is to organize the individual organizations, cleanup committees and fishermen to bring their cleanup efforts together to incentivize them, clean up oceans, collect ocean trash, and use collective power to go to recycling agencies to process products and sort through it to use materials that can ultimately be upcycled,” Almond explains.

To view the entire process—from collection of ocean plastic waste to the production of the end product of Valdese Inside Out Performance fabrics, click here.

“When we met with SEAQUAL before COVID they were in 42 countries and now they are in 60 countries,” Almond says. “The amount of waste and upcycled materials has dramatically increased. We know they are making a difference.”

SEAQUAL has processed 600 tons of marine litter from the ocean. Of that total, the organization has transformed 200 tons of plastic into upcycled marine plastic and yarn for companies like Valdese to use.

“They actually embed the yarn with tracers, so that they know it is authentic. They are very serious about that process and they have certification at each of the steps in the supply chain that companies must adhere to,” Almond says. “As their network cleanup committees and processing grows, we are hoping that is going to continue to increase as more material becomes available.”

Hundreds of global brands and retailers are listed as licensing partners with SEAQUAL on its website, including such well-known retailers as American Eagle Outfitters, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Ikea.

“We had seen a lot of different ocean plastic stories out there. No one had this multi-faceted story about cleaning up the ocean, upcycling and properly disposing of the trash,” she said. “It’s one thing to sift through and take out the parts that you want, but you are not really making a difference.”

SEAQUAL, on the other hand, properly disposes of the ocean materials that are not recyclable.

“Taking on new yarn SKUs is an investment. To meet their 20 percent content, we had to invest in the right tools to get that content assured. In terms of raw materials, we felt like it was in line with our existing cost structure,” Almond notes.

Valdese Weaver’s goal is to expand development with SEAQUAL and bring awareness to the initiative and “challenge our industry to think about sustainable materials.”

“Just regular upcycled plastic is not enough,” Almond notes. “How do we move this journey forward? More needs to be done.”

One way to move the story forward is to partner with an award-winning artist and amplify the story to the public.

SEAQUAL and Valdese Featured in Museum Exhibit

That’s just what Valdese and SEAQUAL have done.

Valdese is collaborating with MacArthur Genius Award winning artist, Mel Chin, as part of an exhibit at the Hickory Museum of Art in Hickory, N.C. “to promote the power of design to fuel change in our industry.”

Chin, an ecologically and environmentally-minded artist, has been behind projects seeking to raise awareness on issues such as contaminated soil in New Orleans and abandoned homes in Detroit.

The Hickory Museum of Art has opened a new exhibit highlighting the problem of ocean pollution, in conjunction with an experiential exhibit, SEA to SEE, that has been created by Chin and is housed at the Mint Museum in Charlotte.

The Valdese exhibit at the Hickory Museum showcases the company’s partnership with the SEAQUAL INITIATIVE and explains how the company and the furniture industry is working together to help solve the problem of ocean pollution.

“We bring so many people through our facility to train them on the textile process, including salespeople with furniture manufacturers, furniture dealers, and large-scale retailers. These are big companies that are trying to help their sales team understand how to sell fabrics. I thought it would be great to connect our SEAQUAL story with what is happening at the museum and tell a bigger picture story about how the industry is using design to propel change,” Almond says.

“Textiles get a bad rap, not just in terms of manufacturing, especially if you’ve grown up in a textile town. You’ve seen and heard people lose jobs that go to China, or say that furniture is not a reliable career, or that furniture is not an innovative industry,” she adds.

“We wanted this exhibit to highlight technology and design and innovation and cool things happening in this community that are impacting not just Hickory but the United States.”

Barnet Hosts Congressman Greg Murphy (R-N.C.); Highlights the Importance of Supporting Policies that Bolster the Competitiveness of the U.S. Textile Industry

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Greg Murphy (R-N.C.) met with executives at William Barnet & Son LLC (Barnet) and toured a facility in Kinston, N.C. today, where the company’s innovation, advances in sustainable practices and its important contribution to the North Carolina economy were on full display.

Congressman Murphy’s visit is critical and comes at a pivotal time for the U.S. textile supply chain, which produced $65.2 billion in output in 2021 and employed nearly 535,000 workers. Barnet is part of the broader industry that is a major factor in high-tech and sustainable innovation in the production of everything from heart valves and stents to aircraft bodies and advanced body armor.

Barnet is a global manufacturing, recycling, and trading company, specializing in a wide range of fibers, polymers and yarns. Founded in Albany, N.Y. in 1898 by William Barnet, the company has been dedicated to a vision of being the world’s most respected, creative, versatile and sustainable solution provider to its customers and suppliers. The company currently employs over 400 employees worldwide.

During the discussion with Congressman Murphy, Barnet executives discussed several policy priorities that have far-reaching implications for North Carolina and the entire U.S. textile industry.

They also outlined the importance of policies aimed at bolstering onshoring and nearshoring production, closing a legal loophole in U.S. trade law that continues to undermine American manufacturing and gives China an advantage, and U.S. trade policy on China.

“We are honored to have hosted Dr. Murphy at our Kinston facility today,” said Chuck Hall, president of Barnet. “The opportunity to discuss important policies that impact not only our everyday business operations but the entire industry’s operations is invaluable. It is critical that U.S. trade policy centers around keeping the industry competitive. In particular, we discussed the need to maintain China 301 penalty tariffs, to fix a loophole in U.S. trade law known as the de minimis mechanism, which allows a package of goods valued at $800 or less per person to come into the country duty free every day and gives China backdoor access to the U.S. market, and to find a better process for renewing the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) which allows U.S. manufacturers duty-free access to raw materials that are no longer produced within our borders. We look forward to continuing to the work with the congressman on policies that help drive onshoring and nearshoring to the U.S. and the Western Hemisphere and those that support strong government procurement and American-made products.”

“It was wonderful to meet with Barnet’s officials and tour their impressive textile facility today. North Carolina’s textile industry is a huge driver for our economy, directly employing nearly 40,000 workers and generating over $2.7 billion in textile-related exports,” said Rep. Greg Murphy, M.D. “I am grateful to the industry leaders who took the time to discuss how we can expand this great industry, grow our state’s economy, and protect domestic manufacturing.”

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

  • U.S. employment in the textile supply chain was 534,000 in 2021.
  • The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $65.2 billion in 2021.
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $28.4 billion in 2021.
  • Capital expenditures for textiles and apparel production totaled $1.85 billion in 2020, the last year for which data is available.

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CONTACT:

Kristi Ellis

Vice President, Communications

National Council of Textile Organizations

kellis@ncto.org |  202.684.3091

NCTO New Members: American Fashion Network

NCTO welcomes the American Fashion Network (AFN) as its newest member! AFN has served the apparel industry as a source for design and production expertise for over 17 years. Listen as CEO & Founder Jackie Ferrari discusses her reasons for joining NCTO.

Washington Update: Homecoming by Rana Foroohar

NCTO celebrates the release of “Homecoming” by Rana Foroohar, a global business columnist for the Financial Times. Her book outlines why globalization has not delivered on countless economic promises & examines the shift toward localization taking hold in industries like textiles.

Textile Executives Highlight Importance of Industry & Urge Support of Policies Bolstering U.S. Competitiveness at Roundtable with Rep. Greg Murphy (R-NC)

WASHINGTON, DC – Textile executives spanning the fiber, yarn, fabric, and finished product textile industries participated in a roundtable discussion with Rep. Greg Murphy (R-NC) today. During the roundtable executives showcased the industry’s innovation, advances in sustainable practices and its important contribution to the North Carolina and the U.S. economy, while raising several priority issues in Washington that have far-reaching implications for North Carolina and the entire U.S. textile industry.

The roundtable discussion, hosted by the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), was held at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina.

North Carolina is the second largest state employer of textile-related jobs with over 36,000 workers, and those jobs play a vital role in supporting 108,000 additional jobs throughout the state. The state’s $2.7 billion in textile-related exports leads the nation.

During the roundtable, executives outlined critical policies, such as the importance of maintaining the yarn forward rules of origin in the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) and other trade agreements, advancing the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill and its importance to domestic manufacturers, upholding buy American and Berry Amendment government procurement policies, ensuring the administration is implementing the “Make PPE in America Act” as intended, and the need to address larger systemic trade issues, particularly the use of forced labor, with China.

Congressman Murphy’s visit is critical and comes at a pivotal time for the U.S. textile supply chain, which produced $65.2 billion in output in 2021 and employed nearly 535,000 workers. The industry has been at the forefront of domestic manufacturing of over 1 billion personal protective equipment (PPE) items during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“North Carolina’s textile industry is a huge driver for our economy, directly employing nearly 40,000 workers and generating over $2.7 billion in textile-related exports,” said Rep. Murphy, M.D. “I was grateful to hear from so many outstanding industry leaders during our roundtable today, and I am confident that we have the tools needed to bolster this great industry in our state. As the proud representative for North Carolina on the Ways and Means Committee, it’s an honor to work alongside NCTO to promote American jobs, grow our state economy, and protect domestic manufacturing.”

NCTO President and CEO Kim Glas said, “We sincerely appreciate Rep. Murphy’s participation in today’s industry roundtable, where he heard directly from textile executives with operations in North Carolina about opportunities and challenges confronting the industry. North Carolina has a vibrant textile industry, which employs technologically advanced and highly innovative operations, to produce a vast array of products, including high-tech components for everything from heart valves and stents to aircraft bodies and advanced body armor for our warfighters to critical PPE for the government and private sector. The importance of the U.S. textile industry to the U.S. economy and job growth cannot be overstated. That is why it is imperative that we have sound trade and government procurement policies that not only supports domestic production but also bolster our integrated coproduction chain with our Western Hemisphere trading partners. We look forward to continuing to work with Congressman Murphy on policies that: spur investment in North Carolina, the United States and the entire hemisphere; support strong government procurement policies centered around American-made products; and lead to strong enforcement of illegal trade practices that continue to give China and other countries backdoor to the U.S. market.”

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

  • U.S. employment in the textile supply chain was 534,000 in 2021.
  • The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $65.2 billion in 2021.
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $28.4 billion in 2021.
  • Capital expenditures for textiles and apparel production totaled $1.85 billion in 2020, the last year for which data is available.

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CONTACT:

Kristi Ellis

Vice President, Communications

National Council of Textile Organizations

kellis@ncto.org |  202.684.3091

Washington Update: NC – Honduran Universities Memorandum of Understanding – August 24, 2022

NCTO President and CEO Kim Glas was at Gaston College earlier this week to voice support for a Memorandum of Understanding signed between North Carolina State University’s Wilson College of Textiles, Gaston College and Catawba Valley Community College and Honduran-based Central American Technological University (UNITEC).

“The intention of this MOU is to help develop the next generation workforce both here in the Unites States and in Honduras with the hope of expanding this to other parts of Central America with the necessary funding,” Glas says in this clip.

The groundbreaking initiative will launch a series of educational workforce development programs, ranging from training and certificate programs to undergraduate and graduate degrees in textile-related areas of study.

Notably, the MOU has the support of the U.S. Department of State, which issued a statement of support on Monday in conjunction with a visit by Jose W. Fernandez, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment.

Jennifer Knight, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Textiles, Consumer Goods and Materials at the U.S. Department of Commerce and Hector Zelaya, private secretary to Honduran President Xiomara Castro also traveled to the event in support of the new initiative.

The partnership will benefit businesses and workers in North Carolina, Honduras and Central America, and enhance the industry’s ability to compete in the global marketplace.

A co-production chain has been forged between Central America and the U.S. Those links are due to the U.S.-Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), which allows textiles and apparel from Central America to enter the U.S. duty free. It has generated $12.6 billion in two-way trade in the textile sector and now supports more than 1 million jobs in the U.S. and the region – and 36,000 in North Carolina alone.

North Carolina businesses and higher education institutions are partnering with their counterparts in Honduras and Central America and showing how to expand their reach. The next generation of textile workers – and the communities that prosper from a thriving textile industry – will be the beneficiaries.

U.S. Educational Institutions Partner with Honduran University to Educate and Train Thousands of Students for Textile Jobs as Nearshoring and Onshoring Drives Historic Investments and Job Growth

WASHINGTON – North Carolina educational institutions are joining forces with a key Honduran university to educate and train thousands of students for the next generation textile workforce to meet a rising tide of nearshoring and onshoring in Honduras, Central America and the United States.

With backing from the U.S. Department of State, North Carolina State University, Gaston College, and Catawba Valley Community College signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Honduran-based Central American Technological University (UNITEC) today at a signing ceremony at Gaston College in Dallas, N.C.

High-level U.S. and Honduran government officials, including: Jose W. Fernandez, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment; Jennifer Knight, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Textiles, Consumer Goods and Materials at the U.S. Department of Commerce; and Hector Zelaya, private secretary to Honduran President Xiomara Castro, participated in a roundtable discussion with textile executives and educational leaders as well as today’s MOU signing ceremony.

The U.S. Department of State issued a statement of public support today for the MOU and the unique collaboration between the U.S. and Honduran institutions.

The groundbreaking initiative will launch a series of educational workforce development programs, ranging from training and certificate programs to undergraduate and graduate degrees, in textile-related areas of study.

The partnership comes at a defining moment for the U.S., Honduras and Central America, which are seeing historical levels of investment in textile and apparel production stemming from a global supply chain crisis that has driven a significant shift in sourcing out of Asia to the U.S. and the region. Nearly $1 billion of historic textile and apparel investment is anticipated in the U.S. and Central America this year alone. And this partnership also creates an educational pathway to economic opportunity in Honduras and the region that not only creates a skilled and resilient workforce but can also help to address the root causes of irregular migration.

Current growth projections indicate a need for more than 10,000 new skilled workers in the textile industry in Honduras alone over the next five years. In order to meet these needs, educational programming is needed at all levels.

The U.S. and this region are inextricably linked through a textile and apparel co-production chain under the U.S.-Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) that has generated $12.6 billion in annual two-way trade in the sector and supports 1 million workers in the U.S. and the region.

North Carolina plays a central role in this co-production chain. It is the second largest state for textile employment nationally with over 36,000 workers, and the state’s $2.7 billion in textile-related exports leads the nation. The Northern Triangle, including Honduras, is a major export destination for U.S. yarns and fabrics that come back as finished items under the U.S.-CAFTA-DR trade agreement.

In addition to participating in the signing ceremony and the earlier industry roundtable, Under Secretary Fernandez, Deputy Assistant Secretary Knight and Secretary Zelaya toured two of Gildan’s yarn-spinning facilities in Salisbury, N.C., a leading apparel manufacturer that has invested over $700 million since 2013 across its network of yarn-spinning facilities in the United States.

“The MOU signed today is a win on so many levels. Firstly, it is a win for U.S. textile manufacturers who operate in both the U.S. and Central America as they build more resilient and economically and environmentally sustainable supply chains. Secondly, it’s a win for the Wilson College of Textiles and NC State in advancing its land-grant mission to support economic prosperity and provide transformative opportunities for people of all ages in North Carolina and beyond in collaboration with our community college partners and now UNITEC in Honduras,” said David Hinks, Dean of the Wilson College of Textiles, North Carolina State University. “Together we will train the next generation of textile workers, leaders and academics in this critical production chain. These workforce programs will have a ripple effect throughout Central America, the region and the United States, spurring job growth and more investment, and not just in textiles and apparel. Hundreds of our industry partners that work with our college closely are looking to re-engineer their supply chains out of China to the United States and Central America. This new partnership will provide a near seamless educational and training pathway to building an even stronger textile and apparel co-production chain between the U.S. and CAFTA-DR countries, which collectively supports 1.1 million workers.”

“This is an incredible opportunity to build a partnership and bridge between U.S. educational institutions and UNITEC. Through this collaboration, we will develop education and workforce training programs that will support the vibrant textile and apparel co-production chain between Honduras and the United States,” said Dr. John Hauser, President of Gaston College. “The time is now to invest in the future of the textile and apparel industries, and Gaston College and Catawba Valley Community College look forward to playing a key role in training textile operators to support the impressive growth and investment in this critical sector.”

“By signing this academic MOU, we bring education and industry together between two economies with a strong history of success in the textile industry. This is a great example of creating valuable partnerships aimed at developing the workforce to be more competitive to operate in a global market,” said Dr. Marlon Brevé-Reyes, UNITEC Rector.

Under Secretary Fernandez said, “The United States is very supportive of the academic partnership announced here today which will lead to increased opportunities in co-production and will benefit both the United States and Central America. Investment in workforce and adherence to strong labor standards and good labor practices are essential to creating sustainable and resilient supply chains.”

“President Xiomara Castro welcomes today’s announcement and is actively engaged in creating a good investment climate in Honduras. The MOU signed today will help provide economic opportunities to textile workers in our country and strengthen our ties,” said Secretary Zelaya.

“As we work to create more sustainable and resilient global supply chains, this sector is in a window of opportunity,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary Knight. “The innovations that U.S. and Central American textile and apparel companies create to reduce environmental impact and increase transparency across their supply chains can set them apart from global competitors, and today’s workforce development initiative is a key element in turning this vision into reality.”

National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) President and CEO Kim Glas stated, “This partnership demonstrates the critical need for education and training programs for the next generation of academics and textile employees to meet head-on the global sourcing shift that has been driving production out of Asia to Honduras, the entire CAFTA-DR region and the United States. Collaboration on this scale will support our critical co-production chain in the CAFTA-DR region and further enhance investments for the years to come. U.S. and Honduran government support for this private sector collaboration is crucial. We sincerely appreciate the statement of support issued by the State Department, as well as the participation in today’s events by Under Secretary Fernandez, Deputy Assistant Secretary Knight and Secretary Zelaya. It’s important these efforts are supported and funded in order to help expand growth opportunities in the U.S. and Central American textile and apparel production efforts. This is an exciting time for our industry.”

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

  • U.S. employment in the textile supply chain was 534,000 in 2021.
  • The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $65.2 billion in 2021.
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $28.4 billion in 2021.
  • Capital expenditures for textiles and apparel production totaled $1.85 billion in 2020, the last year for which data is available.

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PRESS CONTACTS:

Kristi Ellis

Vice President, Communications

National Council of Textile Organizations

kellis@ncto.org |  202.281.9305

Mary Cullen

Project Specialist

NP Strategy

4141 Parklake Avenue, Suite 200, Raleigh, NC 27612

T: 919.653.7814, C: 630.272.5691

mary@npstrategy.com

Washington Update: 301 Tariffs – July 28, 2022

Watch the latest state of play on the China 301 tariffs from NCTO Senior Vice President Sara Beatty. NCTO has long supported tariffs on finished textile and apparel imports from China to hold the country accountable for illegal trade practices and help level the playing field for American companies and create good-paying jobs at home. The U.S. International Trade Commission is seeking written comments through August 24, 2022.

China Penalty Tariffs on Finished Textiles & Apparel Give U.S. Companies a Chance to Compete and are a Powerful Trade-Negotiation Tool, NCTO Tells U.S. International Trade Commission

WASHINGTON—Section 301 penalty tariffs on finished Chinese textile and apparel imports give American manufacturers a chance to compete and provide trade officials with an essential trade negotiation tool, the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) told a key government panel today in a formal written submission. Removing them, the association said, would reward China, put U.S. manufacturers at a competitive disadvantage and do nothing to reduce inflation.

Those were among the key points outlined by NCTO President and CEO Kim Glas in a written testimony submitted to the U.S. International Trade Commission during three days of hearings on the economic impact of Section 301 China tariffs and Section 232 steel tariffs on U.S. industries.

The 301 penalty tariffs should be maintained “absent substantive improvements in China’s pervasive, predatory trade practices,” Glas said in her testimony.  China’s illegal actions “have put U.S. companies at a serious disadvantage, and tariffs give American manufacturers a chance to compete.” Glas noted that U.S. trade officials have “stressed that the penalty tariffs also create leverage and are a ‘significant tool’ in ongoing negotiations with China.”

While some advocates for lifting the tariffs point to concerns about inflation, Glas said, “canceling these penalty duties would do little to ease Americans’ inflationary pains.” She also noted that “apparel prices out of China continue to hit rock bottom even with the Section 301 tariffs in place. As detailed in an economic study recently released by Werner International, U.S. import prices for apparel from China have dropped 25 percent since 2019 and 50 percent since 2011.”

Glas also warned that lifting the tariffs would have “a substantial negative ripple effect” on U.S. free-trade agreements, including undermining those with Western Hemisphere partners that have established shorter coproduction supply chains and serve other U.S. and regional interests.

The Section 301 tariffs were first imposed in 2018 in response to China’s persistent violations of intellectual property rules. By law, they are now under review.

NCTO represents the full spectrum of the U.S. textile industry, from fibers to finished sewn products.

See the full written submission here.

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

  • U.S. employment in the textile supply chain was 534,000 in 2021.
  • The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $65.2 billion in 2021.
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $28.4 billion in 2021.
  • Capital expenditures for textiles and apparel production totaled $1.85 billion in 2020, the last year for which data is available.

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CONTACT:

Kristi Ellis

Vice President, Communications

National Council of Textile Organizations

kellis@ncto.org |  202.684.3091