SPARTANBURG, SC – More than 30 textile/fiber industry senior executives from South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington, D.C., including several CEOs, announced a grassroots lobbying campaign in support of the textile/fiber coalition’s campaign to slow the surge of job-destroying Chinese imports.
Roger Milliken, CEO of Milliken & Co., said, "Since January 2001, nearly 300,000 textile and apparel jobs have been lost – and that number does not even include the job losses from the tragic Pillowtex bankruptcy. Moreover, the United States ran a $61 billion trade deficit in textile and apparel goods in 2002. If the federal government refuses to change the flawed trade policies that generated those numbers, the U.S. textile and apparel industry is in grave danger. The government needs to act now to save South Carolina and Georgia textile jobs."
"The job losses and the trade deficit are caused by policies made in Washington. That’s why the companies attending this press conference have pledged to hold voter registration drives to make sure that 100 percent of the eligible voters working at their respective companies are registered to vote," continued Stephen Felker of Avondale Mills.
Smyth McKissick, III, CEO of Alice Manufacturing, continued, "There is a mechanism, the special textile China safeguard, that can slow job-destroying Chinese imports. We intend to generate as many individualized e-mails and letters as we can from textile industry employees to the Congress and the President in support of the China safeguard petitions filed on July 24."
Bill Hardman, CFO of Delta Woodside Industries Inc., stated, "Many states, counties and cities are cutting critical services because their tax base has been eroded from the outsourcing of manufacturing and service sector jobs abroad. Without question, education funding will suffer if the textile and apparel jobs supporting the tax base disappear. That is why we will also lobby state, county and local governments to support our campaign to save the U.S. textile and apparel industry."
Roy Baxley, Chairman of the South Carolina Cotton Board concluded, "Farmers are being hurt by the destruction of the U.S. manufacturing industry too. Domestic mill consumption of cotton is down by approximately 40 percent. When U.S. manufacturers like Pillowtex are forced into bankruptcy, U.S. cotton farmers are losing their best customers."
The textile/fiber coalition petitioned the U.S. government to invoke the special textile China safeguard and slow the surge of Chinese imports on knit fabric, dressing gowns, brasseries, and gloves on July 24.
The U.S. trade deficit with China in textile and apparel products has jumped 45.4 percent in the first five months of 2003.
China uses currency practices that are illegal under world trade rules to give its products an estimated 40 percent advantage over U.S. produced textile and apparel goods. The U.S. government has thus far refused to take action against China regarding these practices. China also heavily subsidizes its textile sector, the largest in the world. Over one-third of China's textile output last year came from money losing operations.
Approximately 750,000 Americans are classified as textile and apparel manufacturing workers. Over 60,000 of them work in South Carolina.
Members of the textile/fiber coalition are:
- 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)
- National Cotton Council (NCC)
- American Sheep Industry Association
- American Textile Machinery Association (ASI)
- The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI)
- The Association of Georgia’s Textile, Carpet & Consumer Products Manufacturers (GTMA)
- USA Domestic Manufacturers Committee of the Hosiery Association
- Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI)
- North Carolina Manufacturers Association (NCMA)
- Textile Distributors Association