Three US textile trade groups are set to merge into one industry trade association, which will bring most of the US textile industry under one voice in Washington policy circles.

The National Council of Textiles Organizations (NCTO), the National Textile Association (NTA) and the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition (AMTAC) have merged under the National Council of Textiles Organizations (NCTO) name, effective 1 April.

The new organisation will allow the domestic textile industry to more quickly and effectively address the range of federal policy developments of importance to the 1.5m workers in the US whose jobs are either directly or indirectly tied to this sector.

It will also have the capability to present a united front to Congressional members and Executive Branch agencies on critical policy issues, particularly the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement negotiations.

Other benefits will include a more focused opportunity to brand the US textile industry as an integral component of America's 21st century economy by better highlighting its substantial economic contribution, particularly in the area of employment; its high-tech products; its cutting edge manufacturing processes; and its status as a globally competitive exporter.

It will also expand its focus to more fully cover an array of critical issues beyond those that involve trade, to include issues such as regulatory and government contracting matters.

The new organisation will have increased staffing to do more lobbying, public relations and grassroots activity, as well as a better capability to identify and support major governmental customer needs such as those of the US military.

The merger will also improve the structural efficiency of the industry's representation in Washington by combining and maximising the various strengths of the three separate organisations, eliminating duplication and allowing for a more systematic effort to recruit new members.

"This is an important step for the US textile industry and the hundreds of thousands of workers we employ," said Bill Jasper, NCTO chairman and chairman and CEO of Unifi.

"The industry has agreed to establish a completely unified trade association to represent its interests in Washington. The result will be a much stronger and more aggressive voice, with a wider geographical and political reach, on the critical matters that face our industry."