NCTO president and CEO Kim Glas commended chairman Jason Smith and Rep. Greg Murphy of the Ways and Means Committee for shedding light on China’s “systematic abuse” of US trade laws, which she said adversely affects American manufacturers and workers, and supports forced labour in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region under the current de minimis law.

Glas emphasised that the markup represents a “crisis of disproportionate impacts that needs urgent comprehensive solutions,” to close the “disastrous loophole once and for all.”

Glas stressed the importance of not settling for half-measures that fail to address the complexities of closing the loop and the many challenges it poses.

“Doing so risks leaving the door open to further abuse, as we know that China will continue to exploit any available means to destroy American industries and our social fabric,” she said.

The NCTO, which Glas said has long called for “aggressive” de minimis reforms does not believe the one in place goes far enough in restricting China’s privileges under the bill.

According to Glas, the textile industry has experienced a historic economic downturn which she describes as a “five-alarm fire” and blames the influx of duty-free fast fashion products from Chinese e-commerce giants like Shein and Temu for the closure of 14 manufacturing plants in recent months.

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She said these products, often made with materials produced using Uyghur slave labour, not only harmed US manufacturing but also impacted free trade partners throughout the Western Hemisphere.

“China’s abuse of the de minimis loophole impacts not only American workers and consumers but has also displaced over 100,000 textile and apparel workers throughout the Western Hemisphere, where our free trade partners are forced to compete with China’s unfair de minimis access,” stated Glas.

This she said is in addition to worries of outside US manufacturing that created a hotbed of illegal trafficking in illicit goods, products and other contrabands including fentanyl.

NCTO urged Congress to seize the opportunity for comprehensive reform, acknowledging leaders like Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Ranking Member Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), whose Import Security and Fairness Act aims to block all Chinese products from qualifying for de minimis benefits.

“This is a critical moment for action,” emphasised Glas. “Congress must not let this moment when comprehensive reform is within reach slip by.”

Last Week (12 April), NCTO’s chairman Norman Chapman believed “predatory trade behaviour” and “customs fraud” are some of the issues currently plaguing the domestic textile trade in the country.