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NCTO fights economic crisis, trade challenges


In his address at the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) 20th Annual Meeting, Chairman Norman Chapman painted a stark picture of the US textile industry's struggle against economic turmoil exacerbated by unfair trade practices and customs fraud. Emphasizing the industry's vital role in the economy, particularly in national defense and public health, Chapman highlighted the urgent need for action to counteract the damaging effects of predatory trade behavior.

Despite the industry's resilience and innovative spirit, Chapman acknowledged the severity of the crisis, attributing it to deteriorating market conditions and lax customs enforcement. The consequences, including historic inflationary pressures, weak consumer demand, and a contraction in manufacturing, have been profound, not only for domestic producers but also for hemispheric partners reliant on US free trade agreements.

NCTO's advocacy efforts, however, have not gone unnoticed. Chapman underscored the organization's successful collaboration with Congress and the Biden administration in addressing critical issues facing the industry. From intensifying pressure to close loopholes facilitating illegal trade to safeguarding free trade agreements and enhancing government procurement of US textile-based products, NCTO's achievements have reverberated at the highest levels of government.

One notable milestone was President Joe Biden's historic visit to an NCTO member facility, symbolizing recognition of the industry's competitiveness and economic significance. Yet, the road ahead remains fraught with challenges, necessitating continued engagement with policymakers to shape effective policies supporting industry growth and resilience.

Key among NCTO's policy priorities is strengthening customs enforcement, particularly against unfair trade practices and fraudulent activities. With a focus on combating slave labor and origin fraud, NCTO has rallied bipartisan support and secured commitments from government agencies to address enforcement concerns.

The Section 321 De Minimis provision, a contentious issue in US trade law, has been a focal point of NCTO's advocacy efforts. By highlighting its detrimental impact on domestic producers and advocating for legislative action, NCTO aims to close this loophole and level the playing field for American manufacturers.

Looking ahead, NCTO remains committed to navigating economic uncertainties and trade challenges, leveraging partnerships with Western Hemisphere allies and capitalizing on onshoring and nearshoring trends. Chapman expressed confidence in the industry's ability to overcome obstacles and reinforce its position as a cornerstone of the US economy, underscoring the importance of industry leadership and engagement in shaping favorable policy outcomes.



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