U.S. Textiles: MMI Textile’s 25th Anniversary

Ohio-based textile manufacturer MMI Textiles celebrates its 25th year in business! Listen to CEO & Founder Amy Bircher discuss the company’s beginnings and future goals and the importance of making textiles in America. Happy 25th anniversary from NCTO!

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

In Her Words: Rep. Kathy Manning (D-NC) Gives Insights Into the Importance of U.S. Textiles After Industry Roundtable

In Her Words–Congresswoman Kathy Manning, representing North Carolina’s sixth congressional district, met with North Carolina textile manufacturing leaders to hear from industry executives and discuss her work in Congress to bolster domestic textile manufacturing. “In Congress, I am committed to supporting our homegrown industry by making PPE in America, by protecting the yarn forward rule of origin in our trade agreements, and by cracking down on China’s unfair trade practices,” she says. Tune in to hear the Congresswoman’s perspective!

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