United Textile Industry Urges Presidential Action
A united textile and fiber industry sent a letter to President Bush July 7 urging the U.S. government to self-initiate the China special textile safeguard, reject any pro-China tariff TPLs in the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and other free trade agreements, and maintain current U.S. textile tariffs in the Doha Round of WTO negotiations.
WASHINGTON, DC – A united textile and fiber industry sent a letter to President Bush today urging the U.S. government to self-initiate the China special textile safeguard, reject any pro-China tariff TPLs in the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and other free trade agreements, and maintain current U.S. textile tariffs in the Doha Round of WTO negotiations.
Eight new organizations joined the original six textile coalition members in signing the letter. The American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition (AMTAC), American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI), National Textile Association (NTA), American Yarn Spinners Association (AYSA), American Fiber Manufacturers Association (AFMA), and the National Cotton Council (NCC) were joined by the American Sheep Industry Association, American Textile Machinery Association, The Carpet and Rug Institute, The Association of Georgia’s Textile, Carpet & Consumer Products Manufacturers (GTMA), USA Domestic Manufacturers Committee of The Hosiery Association, Industrial Fabrics Association International, North Carolina Manufacturers Association, and the Textile Distributors Association.
The letter follows the successful joint textile/fiber industry summit and press conference of June 10 and 11. Allen E. Gant, Jr., CEO of Glen Raven, Inc. said. “The letter of the President is not the only action we are taking. The U.S. textile and fiber industry has already begun a full-court press of grassroots activities, public education, congressional and executive lobbying activities, and international outreach to confront the threat from China,” continued Gant.
George Shuster, Co-Chair of the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition, said, “The U.S. textile industry cannot afford to wait for China to comply fully with WTO rules they have no intention of complying with. That’s why the U.S. government must immediately self-initiate the special China textile safeguard in multiple categories.”
“U.S. textile manufacturers export large amounts of fabric and yarn to countries in the Western Hemisphere where it is then transformed into apparel and shipped back to the U.S. market. Granting tariff preference levels (TPLs) to benefit countries not involved in the CAFTA negotiations would simply give the Chinese another undeserved opportunity to flood the U.S. market at the expense of the U.S. textile industry and our employees. This is why no TPLs should be granted and why we urge the Bush Administration to stick to its announced position and not cave in to the Chinese and their allies in the importing community,” said Willis C. (Billy) Moore, III, Chairman of ATMI.
Geoff Schofield, Chairman of the American Fiber Manufacturers Association said, “The U.S. manufactured fiber customer base faces a significant threat from China. If our government agrees to cut U.S. textile tariffs in the Doha Round of WTO negotiations, China will have wider opening to use its managed currency to boost market share.”
The united textile industry agreed that failure to act immediately would have grave consequences for an industry already in crisis.
“I just had to close a plant because of the U.S. government’s flawed trade policy,” said Jim Chesnutt, Chairman of the American Yarn Spinners Association. “According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, 26 percent of U.S. textile and apparel jobs have disappeared since January 2001. How many more plants have to close before the U.S. government decides to curb the flood of unfairly subsidized Chinese imports?”
“If the U.S. textile industry is completely destroyed, American cotton farmers will lose their best customer. Domestic mill consumption of U.S. cotton has already fallen by more than one-third in recent years,” said Gaylon Booker, Immediate Past President of the National Cotton Council.
“The time for the U.S. government to act is now,” said NTA President Karl Spilhaus. “If they don’t act now, still more orders will flow to Chinese textile factories instead of U.S. factories next year. Tens of thousands of U.S. textile workers will lose their jobs in 2004 if that happens.”
The U.S. textile and apparel industry has lost 271,100 jobs since January 2001. ATMI’s July 2 report, “The China Threat to World Textile and Apparel Trade,” available at www.atmi.org, predicted that an additional 630,000 U.S. jobs would be lost, 1,300 plants would be closed, and $42 billion in trade would be shifted from other countries to China if quotas on textile and apparel products from China were allowed to expire on December 31, 2004.
ATMI Press Contact Info: Robert DuPree – (202) 862-0526 firstname.lastname@example.org www.atmi.org Available for Interview: Willis C. “Billy” Moore III, ATMI Chairman and Executive Vice President for Governmental and Investor Relations of Unifi, Inc. located in Greensboro, NC. Allen Gant, ATMI Second Vice-Chairman and CEO of Glen Raven, Inc. located in Glen Raven, NC. Parks Shackelford, ATMI President, Washington, DC Cass Johnson, ATMI Senior Vice President, Washington, DC
AYSA Press Contact Info: Mike Hubbard – (704) 824-3522 email@example.com www.aysa.org Available for Interview: Jim Chesnutt – AYSA President and President/CEO of National Spinning Company located in Washington, NC.
NCC Press Contact Info: Marjory Walker – (800) 377-9030 firstname.lastname@example.org www.cotton.org Available for Interview: Gaylon Booker – NCC Consultant and Immediate Past President, Memphis TN. Dr. Mark Lange – NCC President and CEO.
NTA Press Contact: David Trumbull – (617) 542-8220 x 2 email@example.com www.nationaltextile.org Available for Interview: Karl Spilhaus – NTA President, Boston, MA
AMTAC Press Contact Info: Lloyd Wood – (202) 452-8493 or (703) 307-7662 (cell) firstname.lastname@example.org www.amatacdc.org Available for Interview: Jock Nash – Washington Counsel, Milliken & Co. on behalf of Roger Milliken – AMTAC Co-Chair and CEO of Milliken & Co. located in Spartanburg, SC; George Shuster – AMTAC Co-Chair and CEO of Cranston Print Works located in Cranston, RI; and Augustine Tantillo – AMTAC Washington Coordinator
AFMA Press Contact Info: Paul O’Day – 703-875-0432 email@example.com www.afma.org Available for Interview: Geoff Schofield – AFMA Chairman & President of Drake Extrusion Inc. located in Ridgeway, VA; and Paul O’Day – AFMA President, Arlington, VA