During her tour, Dr Agama, a key advisor on textile and apparel trade policy matters, alongside USTR textile trade officials, explored seven prominent textile manufacturers, including Glen Raven, Barnet, Standard Textile, Parkdale Mills, Beverly Knits, Gildan, and Unifi.

The visit signified the importance of trade policies that enhance the competitiveness of the thriving domestic supply chain, which plays a vital role in the US economy and workforce.

“For USTR, this local engagement and conversations underscore our need to create trade policies that put workers first and promote inclusive economic growth,” Dr Agama said.

“The spinning, knitting, and weaving operations of the textile industry are at the centre of many communities across the Carolinas. This was another opportunity to hear first-hand how we can create jobs that allow workers, businesses, and communities to thrive.”

The culmination of her visit was marked by an engaging industry roundtable discussion hosted by Unifi in Greensboro, N.C. where esteemed US textile executives from various sectors, such as fibre, yarn, fabric, and finished product textile and apparel industries shed light on crucial trade policies, including:

  • The preservation of the yarn forward rule of origin in trade agreements like the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR)
  • Advancement of the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) to support domestic manufacturers
  • The need to address trade law loopholes, particularly the de minimis loophole
  • Addressing larger systematic trade issues particularly concerns regarding forced labour, with China
  • Upholding buy American and Berry Amendment government procurement policies

President and CEO of NCTO Kim Glas said: “We look forward to working closely with Dr Agama, the USTR textile team, and USTR ambassador Katherine Tai to advance policies that provide incentives for onshoring and nearshoring production and bolstering the industry’s competitiveness while enforcing policies that address illegal trade practices that undermine this industry.”

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She added: “The three-day visit by Dr Agama and the USTR textile team included facility tours of several NCTO member companies, all of which have made major investments in state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities that are part of a broader domestic industry supply chain that produced $65.8bn in output in 2022 and employed 538,000 workers.”

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