NCTO Advisory to the Trade — February 28, 2019
Making the U.S. Textile Industry Heard in Washington

Making the U.S. Textile Industry Heard in Washington

 This weekly column was launched to assist U.S. textile companies with practical advice regarding tariffs, trade, and federal regulations. Now, with just a over two weeks before the NCTO 2019 Annual Meeting, the most practical advice to the trade is to attend and fully immerse yourself in all aspects of the meeting program. NCTO has an outstanding roster of government presenters to discuss policy matters and industry speakers to address the theme of American Textiles: Building Stronger Local Supply Chains. Equally important to the health of the industry is the location of the meeting, Washington, D.C., which provides the opportunity to engage in person with U.S. government policy-makers.

International trade policy, government procurement policy, regulations relating to workplace, consumer, and environmental safety — all the laws enacted by our elected officials and regulations promulgated by executive agencies — can do much to foster, or hinder, the ability of the domestic textile industry to build stronger local supply chains, compete globally, provide good-paying jobs, and support our communities. The 2019 NCTO Annual Meeting, which will take place on March 19-21, will be our industry’s most high-profile opportunity this year to hear from, and speak to, those decision-makers in Washington who have so much potential to affect the health of our industry.

Our distinguished guests — high-ranking officials from the White House, the United States Trade Representative’s office, U.S. Customs & Border Protection, and the U.S. Department of Commerce — will convey first-hand insights into the various policy matters that directly impact our businesses.  Moreover, the meeting is structured to ensure that we as an industry have the opportunity to convey our perspective on critical issues to key congressional and Administration policy makers. The Annual Meeting is also when NCTO members head to Capitol Hill to discuss industry priorities with key members of Congress.

Several issues face our industry in 2019 —

  • Advocating for passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, an extension and improvement of NAFTA.
  • Fighting efforts to dilute the Berry Amendment.
  • Monitoring ongoing trade agreement negotiations with the UK, EU, and Japan.
  • Opposing efforts undermine U.S. production and employment, such as:
    • Including apparel articles in the Generalized System of Preferences.
    • Broadening the Customs de minimis regulation that allows imports to circumvent tariffs on direct-to-consumer shipments.
    • Eliminating U.S. duties on high-performance outerwear.
    • Providing duty breaks for the use of recycled materials.

The above list is by no means exhaustive, even of the known issues, not to mention new threats that may arise at any time.

The staff of NCTO is prepared to advocate for our industry with position papers, testimony, and calling on elected officials and their staff.  However, nothing is more potent in Washington than a constituent, who provides good-paying jobs in the district, explaining to our Washington officials precisely how proposed government policy will directly impact those jobs.

The officers, directors, and staff of NCTO thank each one of our member companies who participate in the Annual Meeting. We understand that you are temporarily setting aside the needs of your businesses to come to Washington because you understand that the health of your business can be affected by what happens in Washington. As the saying goes, “Just because you don’t take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.”

Finally, at the NCTO Annual Meeting you will hear an update on the TextilePAC, the only PAC in Washington dedicated solely to the interests of the U.S. textile industry. The contributors to the TextilePAC have helped us increase the effectiveness and reach of this essential aspect of our federal lobbying activity.