Western Hemisphere and U.S. Co-Production Chain Post Significant Uptick in Two-Way Trade

The Western Hemisphere marked a significant uptick in trade in the first half of 2021, driving a 50 percent surge in U.S. apparel imports, as business rebounded following sizable decreases in textile output and trade due to the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

The trends in the latest U.S. government data show that two-way trade between the U.S. and the region is rebounding strongly, as consumer demand for textile products continues to grow. Additionally, global sourcing shifts and pressure on China forced retailers and brands to continue diversifying and consider nearshoring more production to take advantage of the benefits of our free trade agreements (FTAs) in the region.

Please note that the government trade data for the first half of 2021 provides a comparison to the first half of 2020, a year that is considered an anomaly due to the impact of the pandemic. However, the latest data indicates that trade is on track to match and/or exceed 2019 trade figures.

For the year to date through June, apparel imports from the Western Hemisphere (largely comprised of U.S. textile components) jumped 50 percent to $6.4 billion compared with the same period in 2020, according to new data from the Commerce Department’s Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA).

On a year-ending basis through June, the Western Hemisphere controlled a 17.4 percent share of the U.S. apparel import market, an increase of 7.4 percent.

While the rebound is in large part a function of the market bouncing back from the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is also a reflection of larger sourcing shifts occurring as brands and retailers continue to diversify out of China, which is facing pressures on several fronts.

Most notably, the trade data indicates that China is likely feeling the impact of the imposition of 301 tariffs on the majority of finished Chinese apparel imports, as well as the recent U.S. ban on cotton products from the Xinjiang region of China, following widespread reports of the egregious abuse of Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities and the use of forced labor to produce consumer goods for Western brands.

While apparel and textile imports from China also rose in the first half of the year, the country lost import market share in the U.S.

For the year ending June 30, China had a 23.3 percent share of the U.S. apparel import market, a decline of 13.8% compared to the year-ago period. Its U.S. import share of total textiles and apparel stood at 28%, a decline of 2.8 percent.

A diversification in global sourcing trends has contributed to nearshoring and an increase in orders for Western Hemisphere trading partners.

These positive trends are extremely important for the U.S. textile industry, which has invested heavily in the region and has seen its exports to the region increase significantly, especially under two critical free trade agreements–the U.S. Mexico-Canada-Agreement (USCMA) and the Central America Free Trade Agreement-Dominican Republic (CAFTA-DR).

“The U.S. trade data indicates a strong rebound in the Western Hemisphere, which is gaining U.S. import market share,” said NCTO President and CEO Kim Glas. “I expect this trend to continue through the remainder of this year as retailers and brands seek to nearshore more of their production.

Built on the strength of reciprocal, negotiated FTAs, the Western Hemisphere’s textile supply chain is a vital economic driver for the whole region. Fiber, yarn, and fabric products, and their various associated textile and apparel related end-products, support almost $35 billion in annual two-way trade and more than 2 million direct jobs throughout the hemisphere,” she noted.

Textile mill product exports to the Western Hemisphere rose 27 percent to $5.8 billion for the year to date, compared to a year ago, while exports to the CAFTA-DR countries rose 42 percent and exports to the USCMA countries increased 24%.

On a more granular level, U.S. yarn exports alone to CAFTA-DR jumped 70 percent year over year, while U.S. fabric exports to USMCA increased 29 percent.

Five of the six CAFTA-DR countries posted double-digit increases in apparel imports in the first half of the year, compared with the first half of 2020,

including: Honduras, with a 78 percent increase to $1.2 billion; El Salvador,  an 85 percent increase to $850 million; Guatemala, a 40 percent increase to $753 million, the Dominican Republic, a 52 percent increase to $251 million; and Nicaragua, a 43 percent increase to $864 million.

Total textile and apparel imports from Mexico rose 31.36 percent to $2 billion, while imports from Canada rose 15 percent to $522 million.

Based on the upward trend in imports from the Western Hemisphere, Glas said she is optimistic about the future of the co-production chain in the Western Hemisphere.

She attributed the strength of the partnership to the reciprocal FTAs in the region. “A yarn forward rule in both CAFTA-DR and USMCA ensures that the benefits of the FTA are reserved for manufacturers who actually produce textiles and apparel in the FTA region, as well as strong labor and environmental obligations and commitments embedded in the agreement,” she said.

“We are on track to hit and potentially surpass the two-way trade flows with the Western Hemisphere that we saw in 2019—before the pandemic hit,” Glas said. “We will continue to press this administration and our allies in Congress to maintain policies that allow this co-production chain to flourish.”

 

 

Glen Raven Invests $82 Million in Norlina, N.C. Operations; Creates 205 new Jobs

As part of a multi-phase $250 million capacity expansion plan, Glen Raven, Inc., a leading provider of innovative performance textiles, which includes such well-known brands as Sunbrella® and Dickson® in its portfolio, will create 205 new jobs as it expands its Custom Fabrics operations in Norlina, North Carolina.

N.C. Governor Roy Cooper announced the significant expansion, in a press release, which stated the company will invest up to $82 million in Norlina.

“Companies that already do business in rural North Carolina know the advantages of communities like Warren County,” said Governor Cooper. “Glen Raven’s experience here provides the confidence they need that our workforce, transportation systems and business climate will best support this next phase of growth for their company.”

“Ever since Glen Raven was founded in the great state of North Carolina in 1880, we’ve invested in our communities and have celebrated many accomplishments together,” said Leib Oehmig, chief executive officer at Glen Raven, Inc. “We look forward to building on this legacy as we further grow and strengthen both Warren County and Glen Raven for the future.”

The company said it will invest in a new spun-yarn plant co-located with an existing facility in Norlina to “increase production output by more than double” the current capacity in an additional 315,000 square feet, in a press release.

A performance-based grant of $1 million from the One North Carolina Fund will help facilitate Glen Raven Custom Fabrics’ expansion in Warren County, the governor’s office said. The OneNC Fund provides financial assistance to local governments to help attract economic investment and to create jobs. Companies receive no money upfront and must meet job creation and capital investment targets to qualify for payment. All OneNC grants require a matching grant from local governments and any award is contingent upon that condition being met.

Glen Raven said it is expanding capacity to “meet record demand for its Sunbrella performance fabrics, in the next round of its investments in facilities and infrastructure.

“These investments represent phase two of a multi-phase expansion plan and are specifically focused on growing Glen Raven’s U.S. capacity,” the company said.

The investments include additional production facilities and a new distribution center in the U.S., as well as additional equipment to increase output levels for Glen Raven’s Custom Fabrics division, which includes Sunbrella fabrics.

Glen Raven’s phase two investments are part of an overall goal of expanding production at “all levels, from yarn to finished fabric,” the company said. Phrase three planning is underway.

The total of all three phases amounts to $250 million in investments and will increase the company’s production capabilities by more than 30 percent, in addition to creating over 400 additional jobs across the country.

“As with many other industries, we’ve continued to battle unforeseen supply chain disruptions and raw material shortages,” said Dave Swers, president of Glen Raven Custom Fabrics. “We’re producing more Sunbrella fabric than ever before and are committed to investing a quarter of a billion dollars in our operations to support our customers in the long term. We’re doing everything possible to better meet their expectations today and return to the service levels that have defined our reputation in the industry for decades.”

Swers noted that Glen Raven remains “resilient and determined to implement strategic initiatives that will make a positive and lasting impact for our customers, employees and the textile industry as a whole.”

Founded in 1880, Glen Raven, Inc. is a family-owned company with a portfolio of global businesses built around category-leading brands. The company has three divisions: Glen Raven Custom Fabrics with flagship brands Sunbrella® and Dickson®; Glen Raven Technical Fabrics with GlenGuard®, Strata™ and Glen Raven Logistics®; and Trivantage®, one of the nation’s largest business-to-business distributors for the awning, marine, upholstery and shade sail industries. Glen Raven, Inc. is a leader in the upholstery, marine, technical shading, automotive, military, geotextile, and protective work wear markets and operates national distribution and logistics subsidiaries.

Two One Two New York, Inc.: An American Women-owned Apparel Manufacturer with Staying Power

Two One Two New York, Inc. (212NY), a well-known and respected sweater-and sweater-knit apparel manufacturer based in Long Island, N.Y., has maintained and grown its presence manufacturing exclusively in the United States, even as a large swath of the industry moved offshore over the past two decades.

The company, one of the largest fully vertical, women-owned, family operated textile manufacturers on the East Coast, expanded its operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite shutdowns and an economic downturn that saw many in the industry pull back and idle production.

Principles, Marisa Fumei-South and Josephine Marini, bring over 35 years of industry expertise servicing many major U.S. retailers and brands as a U.S. design and manufacturing partner.

Originally based in Queens, N.Y. for over 25 years, 212NY built its apparel business by remaining an invaluable and competitive resource, providing ingenuity, designs, production efficiencies and speed as well as a capacity to produce 48,000 dozen sweaters per month.

Two One Two New York Headquarters in Long Island, NY

Six years ago, the company implemented a long-awaited plan to expand and modernize its facility to better service long-term retail partners.  This path took them, along with their devoted employees, from Glendale, Queens to Edgewood, Long Island where they relocated to an 85,000-square-foot facility.

“Treating this as a blank slate, we built a fully modern and open environment, expanded our capabilities and capacity, layering on additional equipment and bringing other processes typically outsourced, in house,” said Fumei-South.

212NY made the final transition to Long Island two and a half years ago, moving their 4,000-square-foot Manhattan showroom into the Edgewood facility, allowing for seamless communication and greater efficiency, while providing full-service one-stop shopping from design to delivery.

Then the pandemic hit.

At the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, Fumei-South saidevery retailer cancelled every order, regardless of the production status and held up every payment– essentially bringing cash flow to an abrupt halt.” The same week then-Governor Andrew Cuomo shuttered all non-essential business.

Having a deep allegiance to their dedicated employees and a sense of responsibility to help the cause here at home, Fumei-South and Marini, along with key technicians, programmers and management, stayed in their facility and never left.

Two One Two New York’s Production Facility

“Without hesitation, we put our heads together, made the necessary investments, and within a week and a half, we successfully pivoted to produce personal protective equipment (PPE), beginning with technically knit-2-shape sustainable face masks. We were immediately selected as the New York manufacturer to participate in the FEMA mask contract award and also landed multiple contracts with local municipalities, national utility companies, schools, local businesses, banks and grocery chains, Fumei-South said.

Along with loyal supply chain partners and a network of exclusive sub-contractors, 212NY took the next step and expanded fully into the PPE world, producing reusable/sustainable face masks and isolation gowns, disposable isolation gowns, bouffants, booties and other items for frontline workers, nursing homes, healthcare workers, and doctor and dental offices.

Today, 212NY has the overall capacity to produce 4 million face masks per week and between 750,000 to 1 million gowns per week, depending on the model and level.

Most recently 212NY was selected as a key subcontractor by Parkdale Mills on the “Biden Warp Speed Mask” contract and is currently working on several military mask and apparel contracts, in addition to its commercial PPE business.

“Through hard work, perseverance, resourcefulness, ingenuity and sheer determination, the development and production of PPE has evolved to be a permanent arm of 212NY,” she said.

The company now employs over 400 people within the New York area, both directly and indirectly.   

As for the state of Retail, Fumei-South is not as bullish at the moment.

Two One Two New York’s Showroom

Although retailers are back for the most part, unfortunately most feel no allegiance to support their domestic manufacturing partners,” she said. “After all that has happened they continue to place orders offshore, regardless of the shipping delays and increased container costs. Many look to their U.S. resources for opportunistic buys rather than making long-term commitments to do their part to sustain a robust U.S. supply chain. We would love nothing better than to bring visibility to those that take the stand to support U.S. manufacturers.”

 

 

TWO ONE TWO NEW YORK, INC.

Click to view a video of the 212NY textile facility.

                                            

NCTO Welcomes Senate Passage of Infrastructure Bill; Guarantees Long-Term Contracts for Domestic PPE

WASHINGTON—The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), representing the full spectrum of U.S. textiles from fiber through finished products, issued a statement today welcoming Senate passage of a bipartisan infrastructure bill that will provide billions of dollars in new spending to revitalize the nation’s roads, bridges and railways and help reconstitute a domestic supply chain for personal protective equipment (PPE).

“We commend the Senate for passing the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which will provide critical resources for our nation’s aging infrastructure and at the same time help incentivize the reshoring of personal protective equipment (PPE) production, an important priority of the U.S. textile industry,” said NCTO President and CEO Kim Glas.

NCTO worked with congressional allies to include a version of the Make PPE in America Act, legislation co-sponsored by Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) and Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), in the infrastructure legislative package. The bill ensures all PPE purchased by the Departments of Homeland Security, Health and Human Services and Veterans Affairs are Berry Amendment-compliant; guarantees long-term contracts (a minimum of two years) to U.S. manufacturers; and creates a tiered preference for PPE made in the Western Hemisphere by our free trade partners using U.S. components, after domestic manufacturing capacity has been maximized.

“We sincerely thank Senator Portman and Senator Peters for working to include their Make PPE in America Act in the infrastructure bill,” Glas said. “This bill will help onshore critical production of personal protective equipment (PPE) by guaranteeing long-term contracts for domestically produced PPE and ensuring that taxpayer dollars are utilized to bolster the federal purchase of American-made PPE.

The U.S. manufacturing industry has produced over a billion lifesaving PPE and other medical products over the last year, as NCTO members retooled production chains in response to the nation’s needs. We will continue to urge the government to purchase Berry-compliant products containing 100 percent domestic content for PPE to help bolster the full U.S. production chain in the future.”

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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.

CONTACT:

Kristi Ellis

Vice President, Communications

National Council of Textile Organizations

kellis@ncto.org  |  202.684.3091

 

Precision Fabrics Group Staying the Course in a Turbulent Economy

Precision Fabrics Group is staying the course and registering positive growth in key business segments, as it navigates the myriad challenges in the industrial textiles sector, beset by domestic and global supply chain disruptions, rising commodity prices and labor shortages in today’s pandemic-impacted economy.

Headquartered in Greensboro, N.C., Precision Fabrics Group—a new NCTO member–is an engineered materials business focused on highly technical, high-quality woven and nonwoven materials.

The company’s diverse portfolio represents a prime example of the U.S. textile industry’s innovative contribution and importance to the economic backbone of the U.S. economy.

Its core business is in industrial fabrics, centered around sophisticated weaving technologies and finishing chemistries for performance fabrics aimed at high-tech markets. The company specializes in designing fabric constructions for coating and laminating substrates, process and cure liners and other industrial applications.

In a testament to the company’s innovative might, Precision’s fabrics are also used in protective apparel, surgical garments, therapeutic bedding and aerospace safety equipment.

It has produced thousands of yards of fabric used to filter contaminated water in Guinea to help eradicate worm disease and also provided the woven release fabric used in the construction of emergency escape chutes, which were used in the 2009 emergency landing on the Hudson River in New York City.

Precision Fabrics Group was created in 1988 in a leveraged buyout from Burlington Industries, and continues today as a privately held company, employing approximately 600 associates and operates plants in North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee.

In an interview, Byron Bassett, corporate vice president of Precision Fabrics, outlined the impact of the pandemic, and the ongoing challenges the company is facing and overcoming in a turbulent economy that is on the rebound but is still uneven due to new rising coronavirus cases associated with the Delta variant.

“The last two years have been the most uncertain that I have experienced in my 34- year career. There have been other times where the economy took a little dive and short term dip, but this one seems to be so protracted and the recovery so uncertain,” Bassett said. “It seems as if the economy has had more elasticity in years past.”

“We’re involved in the industrial sector and there is large portion of that industrial sector that essentially became a fraction of what it was pre-Covid– almost overnight at the onset of the pandemic last year. The sector is coming back now but the process of recovery is going to be a slow one in some areas,” he added.

The industrial textile sector, like all other segments of the U.S. textile industry, was impacted by shutdowns and economic downturn during the COVID-19 pandemic last year, but according to research highlighted in this summary of IFAI’s 2021 State of the Industry report, the outlook for the industry is positive.

“Collectively, companies in the industry…have positive expectations for their future. Some 62% expect their revenues to increase while only 5% expect a decrease (one-third are not sure),” IFAI said. “Overall, respondents expect an average increase of 8.5% in annual revenues over the next two years. Organizations serving the hospitality markets anticipate the highest increase in revenues (10%). Those serving manufacturing and agriculture anticipate slightly lower-than-average revenues.”

The research is based on findings from more than 300 members of the industrial fabrics community, gathered through an online survey fielded January–March 2021 that asked organizations about their businesses pre-pandemic (2019) and during the pandemic (2020), as well as their outlook for the future, according to IFAI.

Bassett said Precision Fabrics shares that optimism, having registered growth in the first half of this year, but warned there are headwinds slowing down the recovery.

 

SUPPLY CHAIN ISSUES DOMESTICALLY AND GLOBALLY

“We’re still waiting for yarns to run our looms. We’ve got 10 percent or 15 percent of our production capacity that has been hampered by [shortages] of raw materials. So on top of all of the other things, we are struggling to meet delivery schedules, which is a pretty common thing—as a result of these supply chain issues,” Bassett said.

He noted that supply chain problems downstream and upstream are impacting business and said domestic yarn manufacturers, non-woven produces and chemical companies across the board are having difficulty procuring polymers, necessary to run supply raw materials, as well as shortages in manpower to run them.

“There is a myriad of reasons that are hard to put together. We had a terrible winter down in the Gulf, which impacted the petrochemical based stocks. We had plant shutdowns because of COVID that reduced production outputs. There has been a lot of competition for commodities,” Bassett said.

“As our order books have strengthened over the last 6 months, priming the pump has been difficult, as a result.”

Another challenge causing supply chain disruptions has to do with the sheer magnitude of the effort necessary to ramp back up industries, many of which were temporarily shuttered for several months, particularly in the U.S. petrochemical industry, which supplies the majority of polymers to the textile industry.

Upstream manufacturers are also facing severe supply chain delays and issues.

For example, the automotive industry is a strong business segment for Precision, which makes nonwoven acoustic fabrics for the interior of vehicles to address sound absorption.

While consumer demand is high for new cars, an ongoing computer chip shortage, has severely impacted the production of new automobiles.

“The automotive business is a really good example where secondary or tertiary level supply chains are impacting every other tier of suppliers,” Bassett said. “They are saying this chip shortage will last into next year. Then we expect a surge because of pent- up demand. This turbulence is going to continue. How do you take a manufacturing process and ramp up from 30 percent of historical production volume to 130 percent of historical production volume? How do you forecast that?”

Rising raw material prices and freight surcharges on imported inputs are also putting pressure on margins.

“Raw materials are increasing in price; the cost of freight particularly sea freight is at all-time highs and some suppliers are implementing surcharges on components made from feed stocks that are on allocation.  The combination of these factors require PFG and other companies to rethink their strategies as the demand in the market improves, Bassett said.

 

WOKFORCE ISSUES—LABOR SHORTAGES

As business continues to come back online, NCTO member companies are facing one of the more dire labor shortage environments in history, in line with every other major industrial, retail and transportation sector across the country.

The textile industry was recently listed as one of seven industries “most desperate for workers,” by the Washington Post.

Shortages are so acute that manufacturers have had to turn down contracts from businesses, including those that want to make their goods here in America.

“From my perspective, there has been a change in our culture, a change in how people view themselves relative to companies themselves and what they see as their part in it,” Bassett said. “We are going to have to find some creative ways to keep people engaged, particularly in manufacturing. I don’t think young people graduating from college today are thinking: ‘If I could only get into manufacturing and work for 45 years, I’d have a great career.’”

Bassett said the labor shortages are also driven by a generational gap and retiring Baby Boomers.

“We’ve got Baby Boomers that have worked in manufacturing for 40 years and are looking forward to retirement. A lot of those folks have worked with us for a very long time and we’ve relied on them. Filling those jobs over the next 5-10 years is a key focus. That is the essence of where we are going as a manufacturing company—we are going to have to figure out how to replace that know-how.”

 

IMPORTS AND RESHORING 

Bassett said there continues to be price pressure from imports, particularly on lower-cost fabrics.

“There are situations where import prices are below our material costs. Some countries see it as a huge opportunity to take a long-term approach and dominate our markets. They have easy access to our market and are willing to invest in the those markets in the short run at lower margins to try choke out the domestic supply base,” he said.

The domestic industry is fully aware of the cost of producing polymers and can easily identify when imported textile components are imported into the U.S. market at below-market prices.

“We’ve seen countries support their industries and I just think there are a lot of reasons for our federal government to make it a strategy to rebuild the U.S. textile industry,” he said. “I don’t think we will make T-shirts here but we need a thriving textile industry in this country as part of an overall, nationwide manufacturing strategy. We are part of what needs to be here for the long run.”

He added that he is seeing a willingness on the part of Precision Fabric’s customers to reshore.

But he cautioned that in some segments such as personal protective equipment (PPE), “memories are quite short and people have reverted back to imports.”

He said foreign suppliers often try to combat reshoring by offering even lower prices as an incentive lure companies back offshore.

 

OUTLOOK

Despite the challenges and other headwinds, Bassett said on balance Precision Fabrics is seeing an increase in orders and business is coming back. 

“We’ve absorbed extra costs when things were leaner last year, and as we are digging out, we have tried to maintain as much continuity as we possibly can. We think that’s good for everybody in the long run,” he said. “It has been our philosophy to stay the course. We’ve got a lot of loyalty in our workforce and recognize that we’ve got skills in our manufacturing operations that would be difficult to replace once lost. It is important that we keep those associates working so that we are prepared to handle the volume when the market rebounds.”

The sectors related to “heavy industry” such as construction, aerospace and even automotive, despite ongoing supply chain issues, are areas where the business is coming back, he said.

Finally, Bassett said the industrial textile segment is “probably the one category in which we can survive as a domestic manufacturer.”

“Low-cost commodity fabrics or consumer items cannot be our focus. We have to continue innovating and take on the most technically challenging applications in our industry. Once something becomes commoditized, we need to replace that business with an innovative product, one that is more financially sustainable.  It is that kind of strategy that will provide a real future for the American textile industry.”

NCTO Welcomes Biden Administration’s Proposal to Increase U.S. Content Rules for Federal Government Purchases; Urges Administration to Utilize Berry Amendment

WASHINGTON—The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) President and CEO Kim Glas issued a statement today on the Biden administration’s proposal to increase domestic content rules for federal government purchases.

National Council of Textile Organizations President and CEO Kim Glas said:

“The U.S. textile industry, employing nearly 530,000 workers, greatly appreciates President Biden’s commitment to close Buy American loopholes and immediately increase domestic content requirements on purchases.  For far too long, Buy American policies have contained loopholes that have undermined our U.S. domestic industrial base and its workforce.  Today is a positive step forward and we look forward to working with the administration on this critical issue moving ahead.

We also want to acknowledge the incredible work that Celeste Drake, the administration’s Made in America Director, has completed on this effort.

With today’s announcement, domestic procurement rules would be immediately increased from 55  to 60 percent with the content threshold increasing to 75 percent over phases by 2029. It would also strengthen domestic supply chains for critical goods.

Increasing the domestic procurement threshold for domestic goods under the current Buy American law will bolster domestic production and stimulate more investment in U.S. manufacturing.  We believe it is critical that taxpayer dollars are used to invest in American manufacturing and our workforce. It is essential that we close loopholes in our Buy America laws, expand application and produce coverage of domestic content rules, and close unnecessary waivers that undermine American manufacturing and its workforce.

As part of its efforts this year to buy American, the White House highlights in a Fact Sheet a purchase made by the Departments of Defense and Health and Human Services in March for over 22 million in American-made cloth face masks for communities hit hard by the pandemic.

We commend the Biden administration for the contracts awarded in March of this year for up to 22.2 million Berry-compliant masks. Production of these 100 percent U.S.-made masks has involved an extensive    supply chain comprising 25 domestic companies and 5,000 American workers, and we must continue to build on this success and reshore momentum by continuing to award future contracts using a similar process. Our industry was proud to help fulfill President Biden’s commitment to up 22 million reusable masks made with 100 percent U.S. content.

The U.S. manufacturing industry has produced over a billion lifesaving PPE and other medical products over the last year as NCTO members retooled production chains in response to the nation’s   needs. We have long advocated that 100 percent content is essential and Berry-like rules help bolster the full production chain.

We understand the administration is seeking to backfill the Strategic National Stockpile with essential products and NCTO, with other industry associations and labor unions, has urged the administration to continue purchasing Berry-compliant products for PPE.

This is essential to bolster our domestic industrial base at a time when PPE orders have diminished.  Further, we believe Berry should apply more broadly to other mission critical products purchased by non-Defense federal departments and agencies like Homeland Security.

COVID-19 revealed the fragility in key aspects of our supply chain, and we believe strengthening our Buy American laws, coupled with other strong policies, will help onshore these and other critical supply chains.

Fully maximizing purchasing of Berry-compliant products moving forward is critical to sustaining and furthering the incredible progress made to date and should be considered as part of the administration’s onshoring and industrial expansion efforts.

Using the provisions of the Buy American Act alone is not sufficient to address U.S. national security needs. Our national security needs must foster investment in the  capital-intensive raw material production processes upstream and downstream production in the supply chain. These upstream production processes are not only essential from an overall domestic capacity standpoint, but they are also the implementation point for a range of advanced technologies such as anti­-viral, anti-bacterial, and other functional fiber, yarns, fabrics, and finishes.

We appreciate the Biden administration’s commitment to closing these loopholes and strengthening domestic supply chains.  We look forward to continuing our work with the administration on these priorities as they consult with key stakeholders on implementation moving ahead.

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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.

 

CONTACT: Kristi Ellis

(202) 684-3091

www.ncto.org

 

 

INDUSTRY AND UNION COALITION RELEASES STATEMENT

WASHINGTON—A broad coalition of industry organizations and labor unions, representing a broad spectrum of manufacturers and workers who stepped up to make essential personal protective equipment (PPE) throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, sent a letter today to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) expressing strong support for the inclusion of robust domestic procurement policies for PPE in the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) currently being considered by the Senate.

“Specifically, we urge you to ensure broad government coverage for domestic PPE procurement by extending rules for PPE procurement substantially similar to the Berry Amendment to the federal government’s largest buyers of these products, including the Departments of Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, and Defense,” the coalition states in the letter.

“We thank you for including such a provision in Section 4153 of the USICA, which is substantially similar to the bipartisan Make PPE in America Act (S.1306) introduced earlier this year by Senators [Gary] Peters and [Rob] Portman,” the coalition writes.  “As you consider legislation to respond to the legacy of manufacturing and technology offshoring to China, provisions like Section 4153 are vital to reduce U.S. dependency on China for vital medical supplies.”

“Last spring when our national PPE crisis was on the nightly news showing workers wearing garbage bags as gowns and reusing N95 masks, our severe overreliance on China for PPE revealed the undeniable fact that the lack of U.S. production of PPE is a threat to our national security and the public health of the American people,” the letter states.

However, “despite PPE shortages and supply chain disruptions, American workers stepped in to fill an enormous void. As a result of its sweat and ingenuity, U.S. manufacturing produced over a billion critical PPE items such as face masks, isolation gowns, and testing kit swabs for health care and frontline workers, as well as the American people… For the first time in years, America makes PPE again,” the coalition adds.

“For this trend to continue, however, the coalition stresses that “the emergent U.S. PPE industry needs the purchasing certainty that long-term government contracts can provide.”

“We need a strong, vibrant, redundant wholly U.S. PPE supply chain to help protect us from the next public health crisis. We urge you to ensure that the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act extends domestic purchasing requirements for PPE to the four critical departments with the largest federal purchasing power for these products—DHS, HHS, VA, and DoD.”

See the coalition’s full letter here.

The statement was signed by the following organizations:

  • AFL-CIO
  • Alliance for American Manufacturing
  • American Apparel and Footwear Association
  • American Iron and Steel Institute
  • American Sheep Institute
  • Coalition for a Prosperous America
  • Georgia Association of Manufacturers
  • INDA: Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry
  • Narrow Fabrics Institute
  • National Council of Textile Organizations
  • Parachute Industry Association
  • Rhode Island Textile Innovation Network
  • SEAMS: Association of the U.S. Sewn Products Industry
  • Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
  • Steel Manufacturers Association
  • U.S. Industrial Fabrics Institute
  • United States Footwear Manufacturers Association
  • United Steelworkers
  • Warrior Protection and Readiness Coalition
  • Workers United

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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 Testifies on the Medical Supply Chain and Pandemic Response Gaps at Senate Homeland Security Hearing

NCTO President and CEO Kim Glas is testifying today on “COVID-19 Part II: Evaluating the Medical Supply Chain and Pandemic Response Gaps, before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee at 2:30 P.M. ET.

In written testimony submitted to the committee, Glas provides an overview of: the U.S. market prior to the pandemic and the root causes of America’s dependence on offshore sources for medical PPE; the heroic response of the U.S. textile industry; the federal government’s response to the crisis; and a series of policy recommendations to incentivize the establishment of a permanent domestic PPE supply chain.

“The time is ripe for a revival of American PPE textile manufacturing. It has already begun, but we are at a pivotal point,” Glas adds. “Without the necessary  policy response and support, our recent progress will be undone just as quickly, and China’s stranglehold over global medical textile supply will be locked in for the foreseeable future with no reason to invest here. However, with the right policy framework, the domestic PPE supply chains built overnight can endure and grow, creating a level of self-sufficiency domestically that we have learned the hard way is essential to our national health and economic security.”

Glas details key policy recommendations designed to establish a permanent domestic PPE supply chain, including:

  • Create strong domestic procurement rules for federal PPE purchases and other essential products–substantially similar to the Berry Amendment and the Kissell Amendment which require 100% US content from fiber production forward
  • Implement forward-looking policies to shore up the Strategic National Stockpile and issue long-term contracts to incentivize investment in the domestic PPE manufacturing base
  • Create federal incentives for private sector hospitals and large provider networks to purchase domestically-produced PPE
  • Continue to deploy the Defense Production Act to shore up the textile industrial base from raw materials to end products for all essential products

Please view the full written testimony by NCTO President and CEO Kim Glas here.

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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

VP, Communications

kellis@ncto.org

NCTO Sends Letter to Acting OMB Director, Requesting Agency to Grant Approval for Collection of China 301 Duties on Section 321 De Minimis Shipments

WASHINGTON– National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) President and CEO Kim Glas sent a letter to Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Robert Fairweather today, requesting the agency reconsider and approve a proposal to direct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to collect Section 301 penalty duties on billions of dollars of Chinese goods currently shipped duty free under Section 321 de minimis waivers.

“There has been an exponential growth of shipments to the United States in recent years that qualify for Section 321 duty-free treatment,” Glas said in the letter. “U.S. manufacturers of textiles, apparel and other consumer goods that routinely sell for less than the $800 de minimis threshold increasingly find their markets and workforce threatened by this tariff avoidance scheme.”

The letter details how the current Section 321 provision is now being coupled with e-commerce to provide billions in duty avoidance on these imported products, including:

  • Increased import price pressure on domestic manufacturers of various types of consumer items that routinely sell for less than $800 such as – apparel, footwear, home furnishings, toys, consumer electronics, flatware, auto parts, etc.
  • An inability to properly identify and block the importation of adulterated products posing a health and safety risk to consumers.
  • An inability to properly identify and block imports of counterfeit products that violate intellectual property laws.
  • Enhanced ability of countries like China to access the U.S. market, despite their failure to provide reciprocal access to their markets and their persistent illegal and unfair trading practices.

“Imported merchandise from China that enters under a Section 321 waiver is exempt from all normal tariffs and any penalty duties assessed under the current 301 case. This unreasonable and unnecessary
duty exemption severely undermines the purpose and value of the existing Section 301 determination against China as an effort to address its longstanding predatory trade practices,” Glas stated.

“The Biden administration should undertake an exhaustive review of this problem to develop the policy changes needed to mitigate the damaging impact of Section 321 waivers on U.S. workers and manufacturers,” Glas added. “In the interim, it is critical that the OMB and CBP take reasonable steps, such as denying Section 321 benefits to goods covered under the existing China 301 determination [tariffs]. Doing so would be a valuable first step toward limiting the dangerous and growing exploitation of this tariff waiver mechanism.”

See the full letter here.

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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.

DOWNLOAD RELEASE

Kristi Ellis

Vice President, Communications

National Council of Textile Organizations

kellis@ncto.org
|  202.684.3091

NCTO Member Parkdale Mills Hosts Senator Tim Kaine Highlighting the Importance of the U.S. Textile Industry to Lifesaving PPE & the Economy

WASHINGTON, DC – National Council of Textiles Organization (NCTO) member Parkdale Mills hosted Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) at the company’s Magnolia Manufacturing plant in Hillsville, Va. today to showcase the critical role the company and the industry has played in producing lifesaving personal protective equipment (PPE) to aid frontline health-care workers and the country during the pandemic.

Parkdale’s facility in Hillsville, Va. is a key yarn spinning hub contributing to a major face mask initiative bringing together several U.S. companies and more than 5,000 workers as part of the Biden administration’s pledge to provide 25 million reusable face masks to communities hit hard by the pandemic.

“Parkdale Mills thanks Senator Kaine for his leadership on policies that help bolster our company and the entire textile industry. We are proud to be part of an initiative that is bringing together American companies to produce 100% American-made masks for community health centers, soup kitchens and food banks across the country,” said Davis Warlick of Parkdale Mills. “With the support of our government and leaders like Senator Kaine, our industry is demonstrating its ability and capacity to make critical items here for the long term.”

Kim Glas, President and CEO of NCTO said: “We want to sincerely thank Senator Kaine for his leadership in supporting American manufacturers, which have played a vital role in our economy as well as the nationwide effort to produce critical PPE and medical textiles for a nation in crisis. We are grateful to the senator and the Biden administration for prioritizing domestic manufacturers and the U.S. workforce. The U.S. textile industry is a vital contributor to the U.S economy and policies that Senator Kaine supports help bolster the onshoring of PPE and critical items, which in turn spurs employment and investment in the American manufacturing base.”

 

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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CONTACT: Kristi Ellis

(202) 684-3091

www.ncto.org