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Obama supports key textile policy positions

31
Oct '08
On October 1st, NCTO sent both presidential candidates a six point questionnaire on key issues regarding the domestic textile industry. NCTO has received a response from the Obama campaign but has not received a response from the McCain campaign. NCTO will immediately publish a McCain response when it receives one.

The NCTO questionnaire asked the candidates viewpoints on six key textile issues: 1) a monitoring program for China following the removal of safeguards on January 1st; 2) support for the yarn forward rule in free trade negotiations; 3) support for the “Buy America” textile provisions in the Berry Amendment; 4) actions against China currency manipulation; 5) stronger trade enforcement efforts, and 6) textile issues in the Doha Round.

In response to the questionnaire, Senator Barack Obama stated that an Obama Administration would monitor imports of Chinese textiles and apparel once safeguards are removed; would preserve the yarn forward rule in free trade agreements; would support the “buy America” Berry Amendment; would increase funding and enforcements efforts regarding unfair trade practices, and would use all diplomatic means to end Chinese currency manipulation. The Obama campaign did not provide an answer regarding textile issues in the Doha Round.

Anderson Warlick, Chairman of NCTO, said: “All of the issues listed in our questionnaire address key policy issues that have a major impact on the U.S. textile industry and we very much appreciate Senator Obama's willingness to respond to them.“

On the issue of monitoring of Chinese textile and apparel trade, NCTO noted that the Obama commitment was particularly significant because it applies to all U.S. trade laws, including both China (421) safeguard as well as dumping and countervailing duty cases.

Warlick commented, “Because of China's long history of surging into the U.S. market, a China monitoring commitment is crucial to ensuring that the U.S. government can move quickly to prevent a damaging surge which could threaten tens of thousands of U.S. textile jobs once safeguards are removed on January 1st. Extending the current monitoring program to China is the most important trade issue facing the U.S. textile industry today.”

Warlick also explained that the commitment regarding the Berry Amendment, which requires that the Defense Department source U.S. made textile products, was also significant: “The Berry Amendment not only is extremely important to the domestic industry, it also ensures that the U.S. military has quick access to high quality textile products in times of crisis.”

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Key Facts about U.S. Textile Industry:

• One of the largest manufacturing employers in the United States, the overall textile sector employed over 700,000 workers in 2007. Textile mills alone employed 319,000 workers.


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