The Textile Enforcement and Security Act of 2010 (TESA), the first ever textile specific customs enforcement legislation, was introduced today by Congressman Larry Kissell (D-NC), along with U.S. Representatives Walter Jones (R-NC), John Spratt (D-SC), Howard Coble (R-NC), Rick Boucher (D-VA), Phil Hare (D-IL), Mark Schauer (D-MI), Christopher Carney (D-PA), John Duncan, Jr. (R-TN), Patrick McHenry (R-NC), Mike Michaud (D-ME), Robert Aderholt (R-AL), Mike McIntyre (D-NC), Bob Etheridge (D-NC), Michael Rogers (R-AL), Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Bob Inglis (R-SC), Sue Myrick (R-NC), Betty Sutton (D-OH), Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), and Linda Sanchez (D-CA).
“The Textile Enforcement and Security Act of 2010 is a vital piece of legislation that is greatly needed as textile and apparel fraud is increasing at our ports and borders. This legislation will provide our U.S. customs with the necessary tools, resources and direction to effectively enforce our trade laws and help to bring a level playing field to U.S. workers,” said Bill Jasper, President, Unifi, Inc.
“A decade ago, our industry employed more than one million workers throughout the Southeast. Today, we employee just one-half of those employees and I can testify with absolute certainty that our industry was forced to lay off at least half of those employees due to illegal shipments of yarn and fabric entering into the United States through CAFTA and our other preference regions illegally. Strong and effective enforcement of our trade agreements is paramount to ensuring that the intended beneficiaries of the agreement are afforded the access provided under an FTA,” said Anderson Warlick, President, Parkdale Mills, Inc.
The U.S. textile industry is the third largest exporter of textile products in the world, with over $13 billion in exports last year. With majority of these exports going to free trade agreement (FTA) and preference program partners, the industry relies heavily on strong customs enforcement for its livelihood. During the last decade, the industry has seen a disturbing increase of fraudulent activity; from front companies posing as legitimate U.S. companies, to undervalued goods, to illegal preference and free trade agreement claims.
The Textile Enforcement and Security Act of 2010 seeks to address these issues and close the loopholes currently being used by illegal and fraudulent players by providing U.S. Customs with additional resources and expanded authority to better target these bad actors. The bill includes provisions to:
• Establish an electronic verification of textile and apparel imports; • Allow the Department of Homeland Security to use fines and penalties to help pay for investigations and training; • Increase staff at high volume ports for textiles and apparel imports; and • Establish a nonresident importer program to ensure that resident agents are held accountable for products imported under their name.