Textile executives spanning the fiber, yarn, fabric, and finished product textile industries participated in a roundtable discussion with Rep. Greg Murphy (R-N.C.) on Thursday.
During the roundtable, they highlighted the industry’s innovations, advances in sustainable practices and key contributions to the North Carolina and U.S. economies, while raising several priority issues in Washington that have far-reaching implications for North Carolina and the country’s textile industry.
The roundtable discussion, hosted by the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), was held at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C. North Carolina is the second-largest state employer of textile-related jobs with over 36,000 workers, and those jobs play a vital role in supporting 108,000 additional jobs throughout the state, NCTO noted. The state’s $2.7 billion in textile-related exports leads the nation.
Among the critical policies outlined were the importance of maintaining the yarn forward rules of origin in the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) and other trade pacts, advancing the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill and its importance to domestic manufacturers, upholding buy American and Berry Amendment government procurement policies, ensuring the administration is implementing the “Make PPE in America Act” as intended, and the need to address larger systemic trade issues, particularly the use of forced labor, with China.
Murphy’s visit came as the domestic textile supply chain, which produced $65.2 billion in output in 2021 and employed nearly 535,000 workers, faces opportunities to break intense decades-long competition from imports. The industry’s standing was boosted by being at the forefront of manufacturing more than 1 billion personal protective equipment (PPE) items during the Covid-19 pandemic, but challenges remain.
“North Carolina’s textile industry is a huge driver for our economy, directly employing nearly 40,000 workers and generating over $2.7 billion in textile-related exports,” Murphy said. “I was grateful to hear from so many outstanding industry leaders during our roundtable today, and I am confident that we have the tools needed to bolster this great industry in our state. As the proud representative for North Carolina on the Ways and Means Committee, it’s an honor to work alongside NCTO to promote American jobs, grow our state economy, and protect domestic manufacturing.”
NCTO president and CEO Kim Glas said North Carolina has “a vibrant textile industry” that employs technologically advanced and highly innovative operations to produce a vast array of products, including high-tech components for everything from heart valves and stents to aircraft bodies and advanced body armor for warfighters to critical PPE for the government and private sector.
“The importance of the U.S. textile industry to the U.S. economy and job growth cannot be overstated,” Glas said. “That is why it is imperative that we have sound trade and government procurement policies that not only supports domestic production, but also bolster our integrated coproduction chain with our Western Hemisphere trading partners. We look forward to continuing to work with Congressman Murphy on policies that spur investment in North Carolina, the United States and the entire hemisphere; support strong government procurement policies centered around American-made products, and lead to strong enforcement of illegal trade practices that continue to give China and other countries backdoor to the U.S. market.”