WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Thom Tillis and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) led aletter to President Biden to raise the alarm regarding troubling trade and economic trends with devastating implications for U.S. textile and apparel manufacturing. The letter was also signed by Senators Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Ted Budd (R-NC), J.D. Vance (R-OH), Tim Scott (R-SC), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Ben Ray Luján (D-NM).
In the letter, the senators requested that President Biden immediately convene an interagency meeting with key leadership from the U.S. Trade Representative, Department of Commerce, Department of Homeland Security, Department of the Treasury, and the National Security Council to identify the root problems, develop robust and urgent solutions, and engage directly with U.S. industry and our regional allies.
“The U.S. textile industry is a vital domestic industrial base for key U.S. national security, health care, and economic priorities, and has been designated a Priority Trade Issue by Congress. U.S. textile production is the foundation of our Western Hemisphere textile and apparel co-production chain, responsible for over 500,000 U.S. jobs with $39 billion in annual shipments. Domestic producers are a critical part of the military’s warm industrial base, supplying over 8,000 items of mission critical gear and clothing annually to our war fighters, and are an essential component of U.S. health care security as our only domestic supply chain for critical personal protective equipment and other health supplies. Without a domestic textile industry, a vulnerable U.S. would be reliant on third parties to supply all of these essential products,” wrote the senators.
“Unfortunately, after decades of victimization by Chinese economic and trade predation, today our domestic textile manufacturers and workers find themselves attempting to recover from the pandemic while facing unprecedented demand destruction. This is largely a result of China’s aggressive and illegal practices of transshipment, undervaluation of cheap products, forced labor, skirting tariffs and penalties, and countless other tactics that are undermining U.S. supply chains. Without urgent action, we will be unable to head off a coming disaster that will substantially undermine textile and apparel production and employment in the U.S. and throughout the Western Hemisphere,” the senators continued.
“The economic situation facing domestic and regional textile and apparel supply chains is an urgent priority. We stand ready to engage with the administration through a high-level interagency process that develops an immediate, whole-of-government action plan necessary to address this serious situation,” the senators concluded.
Read the full letter here.