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

Lifting Tariffs Rewards China, Fails to Ease Inflation

By NCTO President & CEO Kimberly Glas

People are desperate. Inflation is causing pain as it eats away at household budgets. But in our desperation to do something about it, we shouldn’t grasp at solutions that would have no real impact and, in fact, would be counterproductive.

Yet that’s what some are now proposing as they call for lifting penalty tariffs placed on Chinese imports. Yes, at first glance, it may seem like an easy and quick step to take in desperate times, when there are few simple remedies at hand. But we shouldn’t fool ourselves. Removing tariffs now would not make any real difference to the inflationary pain Americans are feeling, and it would set us back a long way in our fight against China’s predatory trade practices. In fact, certain retailers recently said removing tariffs would likely have a negligible effect on lowering retail prices. Barclays noted the same in their recent analysis.

What is at stake and under active consideration now are the tariffs, imposed in 2018 under Section 301 of U.S. trade laws, to penalize China for a whole range of predatory trade practices. Now, at the four-year mark after their imposition, the U.S. Trade Representative is required by law to review whether they should remain in place.

Opponents of tariffs have grabbed on to this mandatory review and hope to use inflation as the excuse for removing them. We shouldn’t fall for that ruse. Lifting tariffs would fail to ease inflationary pressures, and it would open the floodgates to more Chinese imports and show that the United States isn’t serious about addressing China’s trade abuses.

Tariffs didn’t cause our inflationary woes. These tariffs were in place for nearly three years before inflation took hold. In fact, average U.S. apparel import prices from China have dropped significantly and are down 25 percent since 2019 and 50 percent since 2011.

Households are feeling the most pain from rising gas, food and housing prices, not the tariffs.

Further, let’s not lose sight of why the tariffs were imposed in the first place. China’s illegal trading actions have harmed nearly every American manufacturing sector and cost us millions of U.S. jobs and hollowed out whole communities. China’s “devastating state-sponsored practices include intellectual property theft as well as pervasive state-ownership of manufacturing, industrial subsidies, and abhorrent labor and human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region,” three textile organizations representing companies that are part of a domestic industry employing 530,000 workers said recently in an official submission opposing the lifting of tariffs on finished textiles and apparel imports from China.

The joint textile industry submission to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative further noted that lifting the tariffs now also would “threaten to reverse the once-in-a-generation nearshoring trends that are bringing supply chains back to the U.S. and Western Hemisphere.” Our regional trade agreements, which have unlocked historic levels of investment, would be undermined if we prematurely suspend tariffs without achieving policy reforms in China.

And U.S. textile, apparel and other manufacturers are not alone in calling for the tariffs to remain in place. Labor leaders have pointed to the loss of jobs the move would trigger. And a bipartisan group of senators spanning the ideological spectrum wrote President Biden that, “Rolling back the tariffs on China would undermine the U.S. position in negotiations. . .and signal to China that waiting out the United States is preferable to changing their non-market behavior.”

Negotiations with China continue as we seek to address longstanding trade violations and its failure to comply with the Phase One agreement it made with the United States in 2020. U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai has emphasized that the tariffs provide the United States with needed leverage in those talks.

Alarmists say tariffs block the importation of hard-to-get products. Yet, it’s the over concentration of production in China, fueled by unfair trading practices, that has been a key driver of these very shortages. China’s monopolization of numerous industries has been uncovered as purposeful and strategic, with devastating consequences, as in the case of PPE. Backing down on policies like the 301 tariffs is antithetical to addressing our supply chain woes.

Instead, very targeted exclusions are appropriate on certain inputs or machinery that have very limited sources of availability to help domestic manufacturers compete and create more onshoring and nearshoring. A broad rollback of the penalty duties is simply not the answer.

Today, we must stay the course and hold China accountable. That starts with rejecting the false promise that repealing tariffs will make inflation or product shortages go away. Instead, we must remain tough on China and stand up for American manufacturers and workers.

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Kimberly Glas is the president and CEO of the National Council of Textile Organizations and is an appointed commissioner to the U.S. China Economic and Security Review Commission, and former Commerce deputy assistant secretary for textiles and apparel.

 

 

 

U.S. Textiles: American Made & Proud

The American textile and apparel industry has a history as old as our nation. From the crafting of the very first American flag, which is credited to American upholsterer Betsy Ross, to the development of endless high-tech and lifesaving technologies, U.S. textiles represent the spirit of resilience and innovation that is woven into the very fabric of what unites us all as Americans.

On the Fourth of July we are asked to remember that spirit. So, as we take pride in our past and work toward our future, it is also worth stopping to celebrate the things we’ve accomplished together. Specifically, let’s take pride in American ingenuity, and how domestically made products help us thrive as a nation. This Independence Day, let’s support the industries that have long supported us.

American textiles represent a manufacturing industry and supply chain that are inseparable from our everyday lives, from the clothes we wear to the 100% American-made textile technology that is used to develop protective gear for our frontline medical workers and troops in uniform. Each of these items is designed, developed, and built from an enormous domestic supply chain beginning with raw fibers that are converted into yarns and then fabrics and ultimately brought to life in the form of a finished product.

As a critical manufacturing base, supporting over 534,000 domestic jobs responsible for an annual output of over $65 billion, American textile production is bolstered by key legislation, such as the Kissell and Berry Amendments, which require domestic production of textiles procured by the Department of Defense, TSA and the Coast Guard, and critical trade relations strengthened by free trade agreements that spur the use of domestic content, such as CAFTA-DR. These mechanisms, combined with the industry’s history of research-based innovation, are the backbone of the more than 30,000 manufacturing facilities both big and small across the United States. Their combined efforts make the U.S. the second largest exporter of textile-related products globally.

It’s because we have a sophisticated, innovative industry that in 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic hit and our nation found itself in desperate need of personal protective equipment (PPE) for both the individual consumer and frontline medical worker, the U.S. textile industry was able to step up to convert its supply chain, literally overnight, to provide these products. This heroic effort alone was significant enough to inspire the Make PPE in America Act to reshore and maintain a strategic PPE production chain in the United States.

It does not take much to see why U.S. textiles are a quintessential story of American spirit and industry. So, as we take this holiday to pause and celebrate the values that bring us together, let us also celebrate the spirit of determination that drives key domestic industries like U.S. textiles. Thanks to manufacturing efforts such as theirs, Americans can rely on stable, well-paying jobs that fuel the economic activity needed to sustain communities across the nation. And by keeping critical supply chains close to home, Americans are guaranteed more sustainable and reliable access to essential products when we need them most.

This Fourth of July, let’s dedicate ourselves to preserving our independence and access to critical American-made products. As consumers, let’s prioritize American-made and, by doing so, support the American economy and jobs.

NCTO Announces Winner of the 2022 Paul T. O’Day Memorial Scholarship

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Council of Textile Organization’s (NCTO) Fiber Council announces Ms. Abigail McBee, of Gaffney, SC as the recipient of the 2022 Paul T. O’Day Scholarship Award. She is the daughter of Emily and Douglas McBee, who works for Auriga Polymers/Indorama Ventures in Spartanburg, SC.

NCTO Chairman David Poston, President of Palmetto Synthetics LLC, commented, “We are pleased to recognize Ms. McBee’s exceptional record of academic achievements with her selection as the 2022 recipient of the Paul T. O’Day Memorial Scholarship. All of us on the Fiber Council congratulate Ms. McBee and wish her continued success in her academic career.”

The scholarship program was created in 2014 in honor of Paul T. O’Day who served as President of the American Fiber Manufacturers Association (AFMA) for more than three decades. The Association merged with the National Council of Textile Organizations in April 2018, and NCTO’s Fiber Council now administers the scholarship program. Recipients receive a $5,000 award each year, totaling $20,000 for four years of study. Sons or daughters of NCTO’s Fiber Council member company employees are eligible to apply.

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: Robin Haynes

(704) 824-3522

www.ncto.org

Washington Update: UFLPA & 301 Tariffs – June 24, 2022

Don’t miss NCTO’s new Washington Update, offering a snapshot into our advocacy on critical issues impacting the U.S. textile industry. In today’s report, NCTO President and CEO Kim Glas outlines two priority issues: 1) Urging strong enforcement of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act and 2) Petitioning the administration to maintain the Section 301 China tariffs on finished apparel and textiles.

Visit NCTO.org and our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn pages to learn more about these pressing issues.

Textile Groups Urge U.S. to Maintain Penalty Tariffs on Finished Products; Lifting Tariffs Would Cement China’s Dominance of Global Manufacturing

WASHINGTON – The Biden administration should maintain Section 301 penalty tariffs on finished textiles and apparel or risk reversing once-in-a-lifetime nearshoring trends and undermining critical investments and jobs in the U.S. and Western Hemisphere, three key American textile manufacturing groups said today.

In a formal submission to the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) office, which is conducting a four-year statutory review of the tariffs, the associations expressed strong support for the continuation of penalty tariffs on imports from China and warned of the consequences associated with removing the tariffs.

“A key aspect of [the Biden administration’s trade] policy is the need to maintain Section 301 tariffs, absent substantive improvements in China’s pervasive, predatory trade practices,” the groups said. Lifting the tariffs “would also do nothing to achieve the administration’s goal of easing inflationary pressures, as apparel prices out of China continue to hit rock bottom even with the Section 301 tariffs,” they noted.

The submission was filed by the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) and the Narrow Fabrics Institute (NFI) and Industrial Fabrics Institute (USIFI) – both divisions of the Advanced Textiles Association (ATA).  The associations represent the entirety of the U.S. textile production chain.

“For decades, China’s illegal actions have undermined virtually every domestic manufacturing sector and contributed to the direct loss of millions of U.S. jobs. These devastating state-sponsored practices include intellectual property theft as well as pervasive state-ownership of manufacturing, industrial subsidies, and abhorrent labor and human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region,” they noted. “Cancelling these tariffs would create further unhealthy dependence on Chinese supply chains and embolden future systematic trade abuses as bad actors know that the U.S. will not hold them accountable.”

The tariffs were imposed on China beginning in 2018 in response to China’s continuing IP and related trade violations. China has since failed to comply with an agreement it reached with the United States in 2020.

See the full submission here.

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CONTACT:

Kristi Ellis

National Council of Textile Organizations

kellis@ncto.org |  202.684.3091

Janelle Buerkley

U.S. Industrial Fabrics Institute/Narrow Fabrics Institute

Janelle.buerkley@textiles.org | 651.225.6948

The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) is a not-for-profit trade association established to represent the entire spectrum of the United States textile sector, from fibers to yarns to fabrics to finished products, as well as suppliers of numerous support services such as trucking, banking, chemicals, and other such sectors that have a stake in the prosperity and survival of the U.S. textile sector.  U.S. textile and apparel manufacturers produced $65.2 billion in output in 2021, and our sector’s supply chain employs 534,000 workers from fiber to finished sewn products.  NCTO’s headquarters are in Washington, DC.  www.ncto.org

The Narrow Fabrics Institute (NFI) is a division of the Advanced Textiles Association (ATA) formerly known as the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) whose mission is to work on common interests and issues in the narrow fabrics industry.  Narrow fabrics are defined as textiles that are no more than 12 inches (300mm) in width and are made by weaving, knitting, or braiding fibers or yarns with an edge to prevent unraveling.  The primary product areas of NFI’s member companies include automotive, military, safety, transportation, medical, and others such as aerospace, industrial, pet, recreational, and electronics.  The North America market for narrow fabrics is estimated at over $335 million in annual sales.  https://narrowfabrics.textiles.org/

The United States Industrial Fabrics Institute (USIFI) is a division of the Advanced Textiles Association (ATA), formerly known as the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI).  Member companies manufacture highly-specialized textile products, advanced materials, and components used to support a variety of high-value-added and sophisticated industries.  These include the aerospace, automotive, construction, marine, medical, military, and safety/protective gear sectors among others.  USIFI currently has 50 member companies, and its headquarters are in Roseville, MN.  https://usindustrialfabrics.textiles.org/

U.S. and Central American Textile and Apparel Groups Send Letter to Vice President Kamala Harris on CAFTA-DR Rules and China 301 Tariffs

WASHINGTON –The main textile and apparel manufacturing trade groups in the United States and Central America sent a joint letter to Vice President Kamala Harris today, outlining critical issues, such as upholding strong rules of origin in the U.S. free trade agreement with the region and maintaining China 301 tariffs on finished apparel imports, ahead of the Summit of the Americas taking place in Los Angeles next week.

The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), representing the full spectrum of U.S. textiles from fiber through finished sewn products, and the Central America – Dominican Republic Apparel and Textile Council (CECATEC), the main apparel and textile group in the region, thanked Harris for her leadership in helping drive more investment to northern Central America and for the Biden administration’s commitment to strengthening the economic partnership forged between the United States and the region, which supports 1 million collective textile and apparel jobs.

“Perhaps most critical for our collective industries is the administration’s strong support for the “yarn forward” rule of origin in the U.S.-Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), which promotes trade, investment and economic development in the United States and the region. This ensures the benefits of the agreement go to the partners in the agreement, which helps drive massive investment and certainty,” the groups stated in the letter. “The agreement’s strong rules have brought trade and investment to the region and the U.S. and allowed us to compete against highly subsidized industries in Asia often employing illegal trade practices such as the use of forced labor.”

“We continue to urge the administration to hold highly subsidized economies accountable for predatory trade practices that have blatantly undermined our collective industries and our workers. It is critical for the administration to continue to ensure the 301 tariffs remain on finished apparel products that have helped bring diversification in sourcing from Asia and provided opportunities for both U.S. and Central American workers,” they noted. “The tariffs are playing a key role in unlocking investment in the region and the U.S.”

See the full letter 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.

Download Release

CONTACT:

Kristi Ellis

Vice President, Communications

National Council of Textile Organizations

kellis@ncto.org |  202.684.3091

State of the U.S. Textile Industry Address

WASHINGTON, DC—National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) Chairman David Poston, who was elected for the 2022-2023 term, delivered the trade association’s State of the U.S. textile industry overview at NCTO’s 18th Annual Meeting on May 11.

Poston’s speech outlined (1) the U.S. textile industry’s resilience and significant rebound in 2021 (2) U.S. textile supply chain, economic, trade data, and (3) NCTO’s  policy achievements and priorities for domestic textile manufacturers.

A link of his remarks as prepared for delivery are included in this press statement along with a link to a data infographic prepared by NCTO illustrating the current economic status of the U.S. textile industry.

Poston is president of Palmetto Synthetics, a specialty synthetic fiber producer based in Kingstree, South Carolina.

NCTO’s annual meeting was held May 10-11 in Washington, D.C.

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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 530,000 in 2020.
  • The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $64.4 billion in 2020.
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $25.4 billion in 2020.
  • Capital expenditures for textiles and apparel production totaled $2.38 billion in 2019, the last year for which data is available.

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Kristi Ellis

Vice President, Communications

National Council of Textile Organizations

kellis@ncto.org  |  202.684.3091

 

NCTO President & CEO Kim Glas Issues Statement on USTR 301 Tariff Review

WASHINGTON – National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) President and CEO Kim Glas, representing the full spectrum of U.S. textiles from fiber through finished sewn products, issued a statement on the U.S. Trade Representative’s statutory four-year review of the China 301 tariffs.

Statement from NCTO President and CEO Kim Glas:

“We have long advocated for the 301 penalty tariffs to remain on finished textile and apparel products from China. Not only do they increase the government’s negotiating leverage to address the Chinese government’s serious predatory trade practices that have hurt our domestic manufacturing sector and that of our free trade agreement partners for decades; they also send a strong message to China that the United States is committed to addressing systemic predatory trade practices that have undermined domestic industries and their workers.

For decades, China’s illegal actions have undermined virtually every domestic manufacturing sector and contributed to the direct loss of millions of U.S. jobs. These devastating state-sponsored practices, which include intellectual property theft, pervasive state-ownership of manufacturing, industrial subsidies, and abhorrent labor and human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region, have allowed China to dominate the global marketplace, which has had severe ramifications on American workers and our Western Hemisphere trade allies. As sourcing executives seek to de-risk out of China for these products, our sector is experiencing massive investment in the U.S. and Western Hemisphere supply chains.  In fact, we expect approximately $1 billion of investment announced in the United States and Central America this year alone, as penalty tariffs have played a key role in sourcing shifts.

We have long advocated for the tariffs to be maintained on finished textile and apparel products to ensure we address these larger systemic issues that have substantially hurt our manufacturing sector and offshored jobs.

Tariffs are a reasonable and necessary mechanism to support U.S. jobs, offset unacceptable practices, and strengthen the national economy. They help partially level the playing field for American manufacturers and workers trying to compete against unfair and illegal trade practices – ranging from intellectual property theft, forced labor, to state-sponsored subsidies – that have been perpetuated by the Chinese government.  These products have flooded the U.S. market and put our domestic producers and their jobs at risk and have significantly contributed to offshoring and the destruction of the middle-class jobs. It’s critical we maintain key negotiating leverage to address these predatory trade behaviors.

We have also strongly advocated for a fair, transparent process to remove tariffs on certain limited textile machinery, chemicals and dyes that cannot be sourced domestically to help U.S. manufacturers compete against China.

The review process, which is required by statute and being undertaken by the U.S. Trade Representative’s office, will allow domestic manufacturers to weigh in on whether removing the tariffs will be harmful and trigger USTR to do a further review.

Our position has not wavered; the U.S. must maintain Section 301 tariffs on finished products, in the absence of substantive improvements in China’s pervasive, predatory trade practices. Lifting these penalty duties will cement China’s destructive dominance of global manufacturing and will do nothing to achieve the administration’s goal of easing inflationary pressures, as apparel prices out of China continue to hit rock bottom regardless of the Section 301 tariffs.”

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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.

DOWNLOAD RELEASE

CONTACT:

Kristi Ellis

Vice President, Communications

National Council of Textile Organizations

kellis@ncto.org |  202.684.3091