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Domestic Textile Coalition Calls on Feds to Shore Up PPE Production

An industry coalition representing a wide spectrum of domestic personal protective equipment (PPE) producers and the U.S. textile industry on Monday outlined policy principles and objectives it sees as needed for reshoring and safeguarding domestic PPE manufacturing.

The coalition–including such organizations as the National Council of Textile Organizations, National Cotton Council and SEAMS–said the COVID-19 pandemic, which exposed severe shortages in the country’s PPE supply and “an over-reliance on foreign sourced products, underscores how important it is for the U.S. government to incentivize, support and maintain domestic manufacturing capacity for PPE.”

“Our association members, encompassing every segment of the U.S. textile, apparel and PPE supply chain, as well as unions representing workers, acted swiftly to convert manufacturing facilities and build supply chains virtually overnight to produce desperately needed PPE,” according to the 21 associations that make up the coalition. “We are united in our support of important principles that must be adopted in order to address our current public health needs and guarantee our nation is better prepared to respond to future emergencies.”

The coalition is calling on Congress and the Trump administration to adopt principles it outlined through legislation, executive order and other appropriate means. The principles are necessary elements of the national response to the coronavirus pandemic that will “meet current needs and ensure a reliable domestic PPE manufacturing base capable of meeting our public health needs during a future crisis,” the coalition said.

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The principles include creating strong domestic procurement rules for federal PPE purchases so that taxpayer funds don’t go to China and other offshore PPE producers and “create the stable demand for U.S.-made PPE that will incentivize investment in domestic PPE manufacturing.”

The federal government should also implement forward-looking policies to shore up the Strategic National Stockpile and to “identify, incentivize and maintain a robust domestic supply chain for PPE and medical supplies.” Federal incentives should also be created for private-sector purchases of domestically produced PPE. This would provide long-term stability to U.S. PPE producers and enhance the country’s manufacturing capacity, the coalition asserted.

The group is also calling on the government to provide funding assistance for companies to “reconstitute domestic PPE supply chains” to help companies repurpose their factories and purchase equipment to ramp up production, and supply grants or tax credits for companies that make such  investments.