NCTO Launches Video Campaign Highlighting Heroic Healthcare Workers & U.S. PPE Supply Chain; Calls for Strategic Government Plan to Onshore Critical Medical Supplies

WASHINGTON—The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), representing the full spectrum of U.S. textiles, from fiber through finished sewn products, released an illuminating video and social media campaign today detailing the heroic efforts of U.S. textile manufacturers to supply desperately needed medical personal protective equipment (PPE) at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The video features interviews with healthcare workers who confronted a once-in-a-generation health crisis and American textile and apparel executives, who came together to manufacture lifesaving PPE as the pandemic intensified and, once again in 2021, when President Biden issued a call to deliver 20 million American-made face masks for underserved communities in 60 days.

To view the video and Call to Action, please click here.

NCTO President and CEO Kim Glas, said, “Our video, ‘American Textiles: The Story of American-Made PPE,’ underscores the need for urgent government support of a vital domestic PPE supply chain, while also shining a light on an agile manufacturing engine that grew out of the pandemic and is fully capable of supplying our nation’s PPE.  I want to sincerely thank all of our partners who participated in this film and commend the critical domestic textile supply chain that ramped up a thousand times over during the pandemic to respond to the crisis overnight.

These supply chains reconstituted overnight will be predominantly offshored if we don’t get critical policy solutions over the finish line.  There is a sense of urgency to this work and getting this down.  Highlighting this important effort to key policy makers is part of our education campaign.”

Davis Warlick, executive vice president, Parkdale Mills: “Parkdale is proud to be part of the domestic supply chain that provided 20 million reusable, American-made face masks to the administration for underserved communities, in addition to the effort that has produced more than a billion critical medical items since the pandemic began.  This video captures an incredible American story of companies coming together to build a supply chain virtually from scratch to provide desperately needed PPE for our frontline workers and citizens.  By procuring 100% American-made masks, the government put thousands of workers across the United States to work and further proved that the U.S. textile industry has the expertise, capacity, and capability to thrive when given the opportunity.”

Gabrielle Ferrara, chief operating officer and owner of Ferrara Manufacturing: “This film vividly portrays the incredible resiliency of our industry to ramp up and produce critical PPE, delivering it quickly to those who need it the most. This is a story of American innovation and the dedication and teamwork of our manufacturing base and frontline workers, all of which demonstrated true heroism in the face of a once-in-a-generation health crisis. We greatly appreciate the administration’s support of our workforce; the men and women at our facilities were tremendously dedicated in producing millions of masks, gowns, and other lifesaving items. We are also thankful for the strong support and partnership of Workers United/SEIU to help bolster this critical supply chain.”

The National Council of Textile Organizations is asking the U.S. government to take bipartisan action to:

NCTO would like to acknowledge all of the companies involved in this critical supply chain and extend a special thanks to the SEIU/Workers United and their healthcare workers who participated. Please see a list of our partners who made this happen 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

Vice President, Communications

National Council of Textile Organizations

kellis@ncto.org  |  202.281.9305

NCTO Issues Statement Following President Biden’s Remarks on Global Supply Chain Crisis; Stresses Importance of Onshoring and Nearshoring

WASHINGTON—The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) President and CEO Kim Glas issued a statement today following President Biden’s remarks on the global supply chain crisis and stressed the importance of investing onshoring and nearshoring.

National Council of Textile Organizations President and CEO Kim Glas issued the following statement:

We appreciate President Biden’s call to ensure we are building more resilient and reliable supply chains and to invest in our manufacturing industries here at home, in his address earlier today.

There is a reason we got into this mess and there is a reason we have a global supply chain crisis. Years of offshoring production in a race to the bottom –exacerbated by predatory trade practices that have undermined so many manufacturing industries–has led to a tipping point. In fact, it was not too long ago that nurses in New York City and beyond were wearing garbage bags as gowns as our overreliance on Chinese production chains exposed severe fragilities in keeping our health care workers safe during the height of the pandemic.

China’s virtually unlimited and unrealistic pricing power coupled with its subsidies and lack of enforceable environmental standards strips benefits and undermines policy objectives, and leaves us in an untenable situation of overreliance on a foreign supply chain for critical products and raw materials. This must change.

We must hold China accountable for predatory trade practices that have offshored our industries and our jobs. We must onshore and nearshore more textile and apparel production chains out of Asia to the U.S. and also to Western Hemisphere trade partners. This has a multitude of benefits to ensure more reliability in production and also has remarkable job benefits to U.S. manufacturers and our allied trading partners who adhere to higher labor and environmental standards. Further, it will help address the migration crisis and grow better paying jobs.

Now is the time to we need to unlock long-term commitments to source product from the USA and from our Hemispheric partners.  If we moved another 10 percent of global production to the U.S. and the Hemisphere, imagine the benefits that could be achieved.  Ensuring further verticalization and investment in all aspects of the industry, from raw materials to finished products, is good for the American economy and workers in the U.S. and in the region.

Our industry stands ready to help and provide the solutions to onshore and nearshore these production chains that benefit manufacturing workers, the U.S. economy, our Western Hemisphere allies, and consumers.   Further, onshoring and nearshoring these critical production chains has remarkable benefits for the environment and addresses the growing, systemic and alarming issues associated with climate change.

It is critical that supply chains mitigate risks so that we are never in this situation again.  We appreciate President Biden recognizing the value of onshoring these critical production chains and stand ready to work with the administration in these efforts.

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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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CONTACT:

Kristi Ellis

Vice President, Communications

National Council of Textile Organizations

kellis@ncto.org  |  202.684.3091

NCTO Issues Statement in Support of Biden Administration’s New China Trade Policy Framework

WASHINGTON—The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) President and CEO Kim Glas issued a statement today following U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai’s speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, outlining the Biden administration’s China trade policy.

National Council of Textile Organizations President and CEO Kim Glas issued the following statement:

We support the Biden administration’s plan outlined today by U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Katherine Tai, to enforce the Phase One deal with China and maintain tariffs on finished textile and apparel products. We believe it’s important to hold China accountable for pervasive intellectual property theft and persistent predatory trade practices that have undermined U.S. manufacturers and its workforce.

China’s rampant abuse of intellectual property rights and other illegal trade activity has gone on for far too long at the direct expense of U.S. manufacturers and the loss of millions of U.S. manufacturing jobs. The U.S. textile industry supports the president’s authority to use Section 301 to address China’s unfettered practice of intellectual property theft, which has had a damaging impact on the entire U.S. textile and apparel production chain and other manufacturing industries for decades.

NCTO has strongly supported applying tariffs on finished products in our sector as a key negotiating leverage with the Chinese. NCTO also supports a targeted and limited exclusion process for a small list of inputs such as dyes, chemicals and textile machinery that are not available domestically and that enable U.S. manufacturers to compete in the global marketplace.

We also appreciate the administration’s support for strengthening Buy American policies and investing in the U.S. manufacturing base.  We urge the administration to impose duties on finished medical protective equipment (PPE) to support domestic textile companies that have produced over a billion PPE items since the COVID pandemic began. While tariffs aren’t the only mechanism in the toolbox, it’s necessary to ensure a holistic approach to onshoring and nearshoring these critical supply chains, a key priority for the Biden administration and our domestic manufacturers who ramped up production overnight to help in the current crisis.

Finally, we strongly support the administration’s intention to address broader, systemic issues in our trading relationship with China—specifically, the need to remedy unfair advantages that stem from rampant state ownership of manufacturing and the pervasive use of production and export subsidies that displace U.S. textile manufacturers in markets both at home and abroad. 

We appreciate the Ambassador’s thoughtful approach on addressing these complicated matters in a way that ensures that workers and manufacturing sectors are the center of the trade approach with China.

We appreciate Ambassador Tai and the Biden administration recognizing the critical need for a strong resilient manufacturing sector and look forward to working closely with the administration to implement a strategic vision that helps strengthen our middle class.

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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

 

 

Two One Two New York Hosts State Senator Phil Boyle on plant tour and discussion

Two One Two New York, Inc. (212NY), a well-known and respected PPE, sweater, sweater-knit and apparel manufacturer based in Long Island, N.Y., hosted New York state Senator Phil Boyle at its state-of-the art manufacturing facility on September 9.

Senator Boyle visits 212 NY headquarters in Long Island, NY.

Principle Marisa Fumei-South and Controller Carole Schultz hosted the Senator on a tour of the company, one of the largest fully vertical, women-owned, family- operated textile manufacturers on the East Coast, which expanded its operations to produce PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite shutdowns and an economic downturn that saw many in the industry pull back and idle production.

Fumei-South said she took the opportunity to demonstrate Two One Two New York’s capabilities and capacity housed in an 85,000-square-foot facility in Edgewood, Long Island that produces up to 48,000 dozen sweaters per month.

“They were able to see the production sweaters as well as masks in process for other government contracts. They were impressed with the organization as a whole, the substantial infrastructure and the fact that are positioned to turn quickly at any given time,” she said. “They were appreciative of our dedication to domestic manufacturing, to keeping our employees working and that we’ve remained in New York for over 30 years despite the challenges we face having to compete with imports.”

“We spoke about opportunities that could be generated for Long Island as well as New York and U.S. manufacturers and their respective supply chains as well as concerns we have in regards to policy,” Fumei-South said. “We also discussed the critical and urgent support we need to sustain the robust supply chain that we created during the pandemic before it disappears and how important it is that we keep Americans working.”

Fumei-South said she is looking forward to having follow-up conversations about mandated state procurement for PPE for New York state manufactures.

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai Makes First Visit to Heart of U.S. Textile Industry

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai made her first trip as the nation’s top trade chief to the Southeast in a one-day visit to two U.S. textile companies where she had a first-hand look at state-of-the-art facilities and met with industry executives.

Ambassador Tai visited Milliken & Company’s Magnolia plant in Blacksburg, S.C. and American & Efird’s plant in Mount Holly, N.C. and gained insight into the opportunities and challenges that exist for the industry.

The Ambassador participated in a Women in Textiles roundtable at Milliken and in a separate Industry Executive roundtable at A&E on September 23.

Industry leaders discussed a wide range of critical topics, ranging from the competitiveness and sustainability of the domestic industry to priority issues in Washington, the critical Western Hemisphere co-production chain, PPE, and Berry Amendment and Buy American policies.

At Milliken & Company, Ambassador Tai said in a short interview with a broadcast station, “I am so impressed by what they are making here, how they are making it under an environmental sustainability program here. I think what I’ve been most impressed by is the pride that folks here have in what they are making.

“I got to model one of the U.S. Olympic jackets just now and putting that on reminds me of the kind of pride that we feel once every four years watching the Olympics. We should feel [that kind of pride] in a company like Milliken every single day.”

Later, at an industry executive roundtable hosted by A&E, Ambassador Tai took note of North Carolina’s $2 billion in textile exports—making it the number one textile-exporting state.

“I understand the A&E Mount Holly plant exports products to 57 different countries,” she said. “As U.S. Trade Representative I am committed to helping A&E and all of your companies build on this success by finding more market opportunities…”

The Ambassador also noted that both the Milliken and A&E plants export a significant portion of their production to such U.S. trading partners as Mexico, Canada and Central America.

“The production linkage with Central America is especially important as the Biden-Harris administration works with our partners in the region to increase economic opportunity in the Northern Triangle counties of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras,” she said in opening remarks at the roundtable, noting she was eager to hear from the group of industry leaders at the roundtable about suggestions to further strengthen the co-production chain.

She also gave special recognition to the industry for making “great strides and commitments” in implementing sustainable practices and commended the entire industry for its “heroic” role in answering the call of the nation at the height of the pandemic to ramp up production of personal protective equipment (PPE).

“…Many of you in this room stepped up courageously and reconfigured your production lines to make protective equipment that was in high demand and in short supply. This quick turnaround was nothing short of heroic. And I want to personally thank you for the lives you saved and the people you protected. We do not want to be caught in the same situation twice,” she noted, adding that the Biden administration is committed to learning lessons and determining how it can be more prepared in the future.

In a separate interview with a broadcast station, Ambassador Tai also weighed in on where she sees the future of the industry moving, after hearing from women textile leaders about the significant enrollment of women at North Carolina State University’s Wilson College of Textiles.

“The women that I talked to today talked about the opportunities that they got and wanting to create more opportunities for women and a more diverse workforce. Folks here really believe that the future of this industry is female.”

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai visits Milliken & Company and American & Efird in Visit Highlighting U.S. Textile Industry

WASHINGTON – Milliken & Company and American & Efird (A&E) hosted United States Trade Representative (USTR) Ambassador Katherine Tai in two separate visits to the companies’ state-of-the-art textile manufacturing facilities today, marking an unprecedented visit to the heart of the U.S. textile industry in the Carolinas by the nation’s top trade chief.

Ambassador Tai’s visit comes at a pivotal time for the U.S. textile supply chain, which produced $64 billion in output in 2020 and employed nearly 530,000 workers. The industry has been at the forefront of a domestic production chain manufacturing over a billion personal protective equipment (PPE) items during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ambassador’s visit to Milliken included a tour of the company’s Magnolia plant in Blacksburg, S.C., and a roundtable discussion highlighting the important role women contribute to textiles, the critical need for policies supporting a domestic supply chain, and the significant impact of the sector to the U.S. economy. Milliken is one of the largest textile companies in the U.S., employing more than 6,000 associates domestically and an additional 1,350 associates globally. Milliken’s Textile Business alone employs 2,500 people across eight counties in South Carolina and is the fourth largest manufacturing employer in the Upstate.

“Milliken is honored to host Ambassador Tai at our Magnolia plant to discuss not only the invaluable contributions we make every day to our community and our nation, but also the importance of sound trade policies that bolster domestic production and the co-production chains we have built, in particular with our Western Hemisphere trading partners,” said Chad McAllister, executive vice president of Milliken & Company and president, Textile Business. “To have Ambassador Tai on-site at one of our U.S. facilities is an opportunity to showcase our breadth of innovation in the industry and our passionate team of American workers who help our business succeed. We are fortunate and thankful for Ambassador Tai’s leadership as well as her commitment to understanding the challenges and opportunities of our industry.”

U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai said, “I want to thank NCTO for organizing this event. As United States Trade Representative, I am committed to helping all of your companies build on the success by finding market opportunities and helping reach new customers. I want to ensure that our trade policy matches the innovation and changes happening in the textiles industry. With your help, we can continue addressing critical issues. In doing so, we will help the textiles industry maintain its competitive edge and ensure it remains a global standard-bearer in the years to come.”

On the second leg of her trip, Ambassador Tai visited American & Efird’s manufacturing facility in Mount Holly, N.C. American & Efird operates as part of Elevate Textiles and its global portfolio of advanced products and distinguished textile brands, including A&E, Burlington, Cone Denim, Gütermann and Safety Components, and representing more than 500 years of textile manufacturing knowledge.

During the visit, U.S. textile executives spanning the fiber, yarn, fabric, and finished product textile and apparel industry participated in a roundtable with the Ambassador at which they discussed the competitiveness of the domestic industry, outlined priority issues in Washington, such as the importance of the Western Hemisphere co-production chain and ways to jointly support domestic supply chains through Buy American and Berry Amendment policies that help onshore production, spur investment, maintain the safety and security of our armed forces and generate new jobs.

“It was an honor hosting Ambassador Tai at our manufacturing facility in Mount Holly, employing 380 valued associates and just 2 miles from where the company started 130 years ago,” said Sim Skinner, CEO of Elevate Textiles. “A&E maintains a significant manufacturing footprint in the Carolinas with 1,200 total associates, and we contribute significantly to our local community and the entire manufacturing base in the United States, touching every aspect of life, from the threads in Superbowl footballs to flags on the moon and most recently, to the very PPE products protecting our frontline heroes and fellow Americans against COVID-19 and the Space X suits that are orbiting Earth right now.  We had an engaging discussion with the Ambassador on our company’s and industry’s innovation and competitiveness, and on the policy priorities that we believe will help ensure our competitiveness and long-term investment in the domestic textile industry.”

National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) President and CEO Kim Glas said, “We want to sincerely thank Ambassador Tai for visiting Milliken and American & Efird today. Her leadership in the international trade policy arena and her understanding of the unique challenges confronting domestic manufacturers and U.S. workers under the international trade system is unparalleled. The U.S. textile industry is one of the most dynamic, innovative industries in the U.S. economy and our co-production chain with our Western Hemisphere trade partners is essential.  Trade policies are essential to this manufacturing sector and workforce. We look forward to working closely with the Ambassador and her office to advance policies that bolster domestic production.

“We are grateful to Ambassador Tai for participating in an engaging and substantive discussion with industry leaders today on a whole host of policies, ranging from the importance of Buy American and Berry Amendment government procurement policies to maintaining strong rules of origins in free trade agreements to the need to address larger systemic trade issues with China.”

About American & Efird (A&E)

A&E, a portfolio company of Elevate Textiles, is the foremost manufacturer and distributor of premium quality industrial and consumer sewing thread, embroidery thread and technical textiles.  Producers of apparel, automotive components, home furnishings, medical supplies, footwear and a diverse range of industrial products rely on A&E industrial sewing thread to manufacture their products.  Customers select A&E as the preferred choice because of A&E’s dedication to providing its customers with the finest products and services, at the highest quality, delivered globally.   In addition to A&E’s steadfast commitment to superior quality and customer service, A&E is a recognized industry leader in environmental sustainability and corporate social responsibility, and operates its global facilities with the utmost regard for the safety and health of its associates employed worldwide.

About Milliken & Company
Materials science expert Milliken & Company knows that a single molecule has the potential to change the world. With innovative solutions across the textile, flooring, specialty chemical, and healthcare industries, Milliken answers some of the world’s greatest challenges. Named to the World’s Most Ethical Companies list by Ethisphere Institute for 15 straight years, the company meets the moment with an unwavering commitment to delivering sustainable solutions for its customers and communities. Eight thousand associates across 46 locations globally rally behind a common purpose: to positively impact the world for generations. Discover more about Milliken’s curious minds and inspired solutions at milliken.com and on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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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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Press Contacts:

NCTO

Kristi Ellis

(202) 281-9305

kellis@ncto.org

Milliken & Company

Cammie Mackie

(864)316-3503

Cammie.Mackie@Milliken.com

American & Efird

Kristen Hughes

(704)830-6268

kristen.hughes@elevatetextiles.com

Biden Administration Awards $6.5M Contract to US Cotton LLC to Ramp Up Production of American-Made Polyester Tipped Swabs

WASHINGTONThe Biden Administration has awarded a contract for $6.5 million to U.S. Cotton LLC, the largest manufacturer of cotton swabs in the United States, to increase domestic production capability for polyester tipped swabs for home testing kits and mass testing applications to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.  Since the beginning of the pandemic, U.S. Cotton has retooled operations to produce over 400 million COVID testing kit swabs.

The Department of Defense (DOD), in coordination with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), announced the award today as part of the administration’s broader effort to increase domestic production capability for essential medical supplies.

U.S. Cotton, based in Cleveland, Ohio, said the company will increase its production capacity from 92 million polyester swab tips per month to approximately 371 million polyester swab tips per month by May 2022 to support domestic COVID-19 testing. The DOD contract award was funded through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to support the domestic industry base expansion for critical medical resources.

John Nims, President of U.S. Cotton said, “We are proud to be involved in a national effort to help deploy these testing kit swabs for the American people. These swabs are designed to make it easier for people at home to self-administer coronavirus tests and will also be used for mass testing applications, which is critically important. We greatly appreciate the collaboration with DOD and HHS to ramp up essential capacity of polyester-based synthetic swabs that will help in the fight against the pandemic.

“We continue to step up to meet our nation’s critical need for American-made coronavirus testing kit swabs on a massive scale. It is an honor to work with our government to help fight this pandemic and use our innovative technologies based here in the United States to fill a national and global demand for testing kits. I especially want to thank Senator Brown and Senator Portman for all their incredible support to help us retool and expand our operations in Cleveland. We can’t thank them enough for their tireless work and also want to recognize their hard working staff. As the Delta variant surges across the country, this timely investment will help in the fight against COVID by adding this much-needed, long-term surge capacity.”

Kim Glas, President and CEO of NCTO, said, “We want to sincerely thank President Biden, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Health and Human Services for leading this critical industrial expansion effort. We appreciate the administration’s commitment to expand the U.S. industrial base for these essential products.  We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to onshore these critical supply chains long-term and we look forward to working with the administration and Congress to advance long-term solutions.”

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NCTO is a Washington, DC-based trade association that represents domestic textile manufacturers, including artificial and synthetic filament and fiber producers.

  • U.S. employment in the textile supply chain was 585,240 in 2019.
  • The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $75.8 billion in 2019.
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $29.1 billion in 2019.
  • Capital expenditures for textile and apparel production totaled $2.5 billion in 2018, the last year for which data is available.

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CONTACT:

Kristi Ellis, VP Communications

kellis@ncto.org  |  202.684.3091

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.