The US government must be more deliberate in developing trade and investment policies that support the growth and resilience of the domestic textile industry and counter China’s dominance through illegal trade practices, National Council of Textile Organisations (NCTO) president and chief executive officer Kim Glas told the office of the US trade representative (USTR) recently.

Glas testified at a USTR hearing held at the US International Trade Commission (ITC) as part of the agency’s supply chain review on promoting supply chain resilience.

Trade body NCTO has urged the US government to be more deliberate in developing policies that support the growth and resilience of the domestic textile industry and counter China’s dominance through illegal trade practices.
It called for closing the de minimis loophole and rejecting proposals to expand the GSP coverage to textiles or apparel.

At the hearing, the industry outlined concrete steps the administration and Congress could immediately take to help build a strong, resilient supply chain.

“While the domestic textile industry is an integral part of the military and public health industrial base, unchecked foreign predatory trade practices, a lack of effective customs enforcement, and misguided trade policy proposals are creating unstable and unsustainable market dynamics,” Glas said in her testimony.

“The confluence of these factors is threatening the future of domestic textile manufacturing as well as the textile and apparel coproduction chain between US and our Western Hemisphere free trade agreement (FTA) partners responsible for $40 billion in annual two-way trade,” she was quoted as saying by an NCTO release.

No fewer than 14 US textile factories have been permanently shuttered in recent months, and an estimated 100,000 jobs have been lost in the country and broader hemisphere, she said.

Notably China and other Asian countries compete by “sourcing subsidized textile inputs from China, including those made from slave labor in Xinjiang where 20 per cent of global cotton is produced and where synthetics like rayon have been tied to forced labor production” and “a wholesale lack of meaningful labour and environmental standards,” she stated.

She urged the Joe Biden administration to counter these illegal trade practices by closing the de minimis loophole, which allows 4 million packages a day to enter the country duty free, largely uninspected.

Customs and Border Protection reports that textile and apparel goods comprise an estimated half of these entries and China is the largest beneficiary. These entries are not subject to Section 301 duties and have been linked to Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act (UFLPA) violations as well as dangerous and counterfeit goods and illicit drugs like fentanyl and precursors.

“The administration must use its existing authorities to close this dangerous loophole and Congress must act immediately to pass legislation to completely close it,” Glas noted.

Her recommendations included dramatically ramping up and publicising customs enforcement and trade penalty activities; preserving and protecting the yarn forward rules of origin; and rejecting proposals to expand the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) product coverage to textiles or apparel.

It also included immediately passing the Miscellaneous Tariff bill; raising Section 301 penalties on textiles and apparel imports; fully implementing the Make PPE in America Act and expand procurement opportunities; and enhancing tax incentives to bolster domestic and regional production.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)

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