WASHINGTON — January 20, 2016 — The National Council of Textile Organizations voted to formally support the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement. The decision to support TPP came after an exhaustive analysis determined that NCTO’s principle objectives were met as part of the finalized terms of the agreement. These objectives include:
- A strong yarn forward rule of origin for the vast majority of textile and apparel products.
- Reasonable, multi-year tariff phase-outs for sensitive textile and apparel products.
- Terms that provided for the stability of the Western Hemisphere textile and apparel production chain.
“Due to the inclusion of Vietnam and other major textile and apparel exporting countries, the TPP agreement is the most significant trade policy initiative to confront the U.S. textile sector over the past 25 years,” stated Jeff Price, NCTO Chairman and President of the Specialty Fabrics Division at Milliken and Company. “As such, it was critical for our government to produce a final agreement that appropriately reflected the needs of U.S. textile manufacturers and the hundreds of thousands of workers we employ nationwide. We believe that the agreement concluded late last year in Atlanta meets our core objectives and is worthy of our full support.”
“No agreement is perfect, and certainly that is the case with TPP,” Price continued. “There were difficult trade-offs that we, as U.S. manufacturers, had to consider during this process, as is the case with any complicated negotiation. Nonetheless, this agreement is very sound in the essential elements that govern textile trade. We stated throughout the entire negotiating process that if our key objectives were met, NCTO would support the final agreement. Today, we are making good on that commitment to the U.S. government by pledging our support of TPP. With legislative review and action expected in 2016, NCTO looks forward to working with congressional leadership, the committees of jurisdiction, our supporters on Capitol Hill, and the Obama Administration on a path forward for TPP.”
“We extend our thanks to Ambassador Michael Froman and the entire U.S. negotiating team for their willingness to acknowledge our input throughout the TPP process,” Price concluded.
The U.S. textile and apparel industry is a significant contributor to the U.S. economy, producing over $70 billion in annual output and employing nearly 500,000 workers nationwide. In addition, the U.S. textile and apparel sector exported more than $24 billion in goods in 2014.