Legislation to close customs enforcement loopholes and increase funding to crack down on illegal trafficking of yarn and duty evasion, has been reintroduced in the Senate.

The Senate version of the textile-specific Textile Enforcement and Security Act (TESA) is a companion measure to the House version, which was introduced in August and currently has 19 co-sponsors.

The TESA legislation seeks to increase Customs and Border Protection enforcement activities as well as trade facilitation through improved targeting, increased resources, and enhanced authority - and has garnered support from the US textile industry.

"The integrity and enforcement of our trade preference programs, including free trade agreements, is a pivotal issue for our industry which has seen illegal activity increase dramatically over the last five years," said Cass Johnson, president of the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO).

The group claims increasing levels of trade fraud are putting jobs at risk and businesses in jeopardy.

NCTO says the schemes that illegal exporters use to commit textile fraud are exactly the same as those use to evade countervailing duties and dumping orders, and involve goods being illegally trans-shipped, undervalued or mislabelled. Phoney companies will often reinvent themselves as 'new' companies to avoid being caught by customs officers.

It also notes that customs efforts on textile fraud have been plagued by a lack of resources, declining staffing and increasing sophistication of fraudulent schemes.

While customs finds an average non-compliance rate of 40% in overseas factories it visits, it issued just 43 penalties for textile fraud last year out of 5m shipments, NCTO claims. And according to some estimates, up to $1bn in federal revenue is lost through the fraudulent schemes used to evade textile duties.