For Immediate Release: October 9, 2012
Contact: Mara Lee (202) 482-3809
Obama Trade Official Highlights New law That Will Support Nearly 2,000 Local Jobs
Pro-Textile Industry Legislation Goes Into Effect Next Week
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez today met with North Carolina textile manufacturing workers and management representatives as part of his Textiles Tour that included stops near Greensboro and Charlotte. The goal of his visit to textile manufacturing facilities in Yadkinville and Mount Holly was to discuss new legislation – technical changes to the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) of 2003 that were signed into law by President Obama – that support nearly 2,000 jobs in North Carolina and South Carolina.
“The loophole in the old Agreement jeopardized businesses and jobs in the United States and did not act in the interest of American manufacturers. That is why the President directed his administration to close this loophole in order to support the American textile industry and the many families and communities it supports,” said Sánchez. “We have every expectation that our U.S. sewing thread producers now will be able to recapture market share in the critical Central American market – putting American workers back to work.”
Central America and the Dominican Republic are the second-largest export market for U.S. textile and apparel products, with $3.8 billion in sales in 2011, and U.S. exporters are poised to expand production. That includes companies such as Unifi in Yadkinville, where Sánchez met with workers and management representatives at the facilities of one of the leading manufacturers of textured yarns in the world.
Sánchez also visited a sewing thread production plant of American & Efird (A&E) in Mount Holly. A&E is one of the world’s foremost manufacturers of sewing threads and industrial yarns, and both companies are prominent examples of the importance of the U.S. textile and apparel industry.
The industries’ exports have grown by 35 percent since 2009, from $16.6 billion to $22.4 billion in 2011. Textile and apparel manufacturers also play a crucial part in achieving the President’s National Export Initiative, which strives to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014, supporting two million American jobs. The textile and apparel industry currently provides 391,500 jobs for American workers.
Sánchez was accompanied on the Textiles Tour by U.S. Commerce Deputy Assistant Secretary Kim Glass, Office of Textiles and Apparel for Textiles, who worked closely with her colleagues at the Office of the United States Trade Representative to negotiate these technical changes. The changes to the agreement are scheduled to go into effect on October 13.
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