June 8, 2023 at 7:27 a.m.

Dr. Laurie-Anna Agama Tours Textile Industry

Participates in industry roundtable
Dr. Laurie-Anna Agama Tours Textile Industry
Dr. Laurie-Anna Agama Tours Textile Industry

Lincoln Herald Staff- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

You could say it remains among the most important threads in America’s economic tapestry.

It’s the textile industry. And Belmont-based Beverly Knits, Gastonia-based Parkdale Mills and others are important to our local, regional and national economies.

According to Kristi Ellis, vice president of communications for the National Council of Textile Organizations (or NCTO), acting Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Textiles Dr. Laurie-Ann Agama this week toured Carolinas-based facilities of the textile industry and took part in an industry roundtable discussion in Greensboro. The purpose was highlighting the importance of trade policies that bolster the competitiveness of the domestic supply chain that contributes significantly to the American economy and work force.

Agama, who advises the nation’s top trade chief on textile and apparel trade policy matters and conducts and oversees negotiations affecting textiles and apparel products, was joined by USTR textile trade officials in touring seven textile manufacturers, including Parkdale, Beverly Knits, Glen Raven, Barnet, Standard Textile, Gildan and Unifi. Her three-day tour culminated Wednesday in the meeting with key textile executives hosted by Unifi in Greensboro.

American textile executives spanning the fiber, yarn, fabric and finished product textile and apparel industries participated in the roundtable and outlined critical policies, such as: the importance of maintaining the yarn-forward rule of origin in the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) and other trade agreements; advancing the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) and its importance to domestic manufacturers; closing the de minimis loophole in United States trade law; addressing larger systemic trade issues, particularly the use of slave labor, with China; and upholding “Buy American” and Berry Amendment government procurement policies, according to NCTO President and CEO Kim Glas.

“We deeply appreciate Assistant USTR Agama’s visit to the heart of the U.S. textile industry in North and South Carolina this week to meet with U.S. textile executives and experience first-hand the breadth of the industry’s innovation, advanced sustainability practices, capital investments and critical contributions to local economies and the U.S. economy as a whole,” said Glas. “The three-day visit by Dr. Agama and the USTR textile team included facility tours of several NCTO member companies, all of which have made major investments in state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities that are part of a broader domestic industry supply chain that produced $65.8 billion in output in 2022 and employed 538,000 workers.

“We are also grateful for Dr. Agama’s participation in the industry roundtable hosted by Unifi and substantive discussions around policy opportunities and challenges,” she added. “We look forward to working closely with Dr. Agama, the USTR textile team and U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai to advance policies that provide incentives for on-shoring and near-shoring production and bolstering the industry’s competitiveness, while enforcing policies that address illegal trade practices that undermine this industry.”

Agama herself also commented.

“The U.S. textile industry has always been resilient, innovative and a driving force of our nation’s competitiveness,” she said. “For USTR, this local engagement and conversations underscore our need to create trade policies that put workers first and promote inclusive economic growth. The spinning, knitting and weaving operations of the textile industry are at the center of many communities across the Carolinas. This was another opportunity to hear first-hand how we trade can create jobs that allow workers, businesses and communities to thrive.”



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