By Devin Steele
William Lash III, assistant secretary of commerce for market access and compliance in the International Trade Administration, speaks with STN about textile trade matters.
CHARLOTTE, NC Department of Commerce representative William Lash III said he considers the promises made in December by Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans to textile-state legislators a textile constitution.
Those nine points in that letter are things that I live by every day, Lash, assistant secretary of commerce for market access and compliance in the International Trade Administration, told STN on Feb. 20. Well make sure we follow through on those promises because theyre very serious to us.
Lash was here to chair a third round of closed-door meetings with textile industry representatives. Similar meetings aimed at listening to industry concerns and acting on them, Lash said, took place earlier in Greenville, SC, and Dalton, GA, both textile-producing hotbeds.
The promises to which Lash was referring, of course, are those made in writing by Evans to Textile Caucus members of Congress during the House vote on trade promotion authority (TPA), which swayed enough of them to approve the measure by one vote. In the letter, Evans assured those representatives that textile interests would be looked after by the Bush administration on trade matters and included nine specific steps.
Were not going to violate those promises to those legislators and, more importantly, the promises to the American textile worker, Lash said. These Congress members stepped up and supported the presidents leadership and agenda and we have to meet their leadership with equal trust.
Lashs role is to engage U.S. trading partners and make sure they follow trade laws and make market access more equitable, he said. That begins by listening to American exporters concerns and complaints, he added.
There is nothing I like to do more than take their complaints and basically shove it down the throats of the people who are blocking trade, he said. And well do anything possible, by any means necessary, to open those markets.
Were charged with making sure they live up to those obligations and open those markets, whether its China, India, Brazil or the European Union. The most important thing is that promises made to our Congressional leaders are promises kept. Textiles is a trade priority of this administration.
The administrations view is that its time for many U.S. exporters and the U.S. government to go on offense, not defense, he added.
We cant be simply worrying about protecting our markets here, he said. Lets go challenge their markets and open them.
Industry representatives contacted by STN declined to comment on their meeting with Lash, who called the meetings productive.
We are looking to get results, he reiterated. We had these meetings not just to wring our hands and say we dont know. Were trying to get cases. I actually feed on their complaints. Their complaints give me my work for the day. When they can show me a problem theyre having in a China or an India or a Brazil, that gives me the hammer to go after that country. I need those instructions. The companies are my clients.
Lash defended the textile trade package the U.S. negotiated with Pakistan in return for the countrys support of the war on terrorism, a deal that drew the ire of some domestic textile leaders. The White House committed to allowing Pakistan $142 million in apparel quota increases over the next three years $426 million total, which is far less than the $1.6 billion in textile/apparel trade concessions the Pakistanis had asked for.
Some of the companies we met with actually recognized that it was a good deal, he said. What Pakistan got was $142 million (per year) in quota swing. Thats less than 1/10th of 1 percent of the $215 billion U.S. textile market.
They were able to move some of their exports from certain products to apparel products. But we made sure that they did not balance the swing on the backs of, particularly, textile products. Yarn was not included. Textile fabrics were not included. Home furnishings were not included. And no tariff concessions were made.
Asked if these meetings with textile leaders may be construed as a public relations ploy to quiet critics of textile-state Congresspersons who voted for TPA, Lash answered, If I were to hold a P.R. stunt, I wouldnt hold it in a conference I would hold it in a circus tent.
Kenneth Hood, a Gunnison, MS, cotton producer who has won numerous awards in his career, was elected chairman of the National Cotton Council for 2002-03, succeeding James Echols.
DALLAS The Operations Committee of the National Cotton Council of America announced its intent to nominate Dr. Mark Lange to succeed Gaylon Booker as president and CEO and to elevate John Maguire to the position of senior vice president for Washington operations.
The announcement was made during the general session of the councils 64th Annual Meeting here recently. The changes would become effective at the February 2003 NCC Annual Meeting in Tampa. Both the councils retiring Board and the newly elected Board endorsed the recommendations.
Booker, who was persuaded to reverse his retirement plans two years ago for his present position as top staff officer of the U.S. cotton industrys central organization, will be retained in a consulting capacity following the transition in staff leadership.
The Search Committee unanimously agreed that the best candidates for filling these positions were already on staff and serving in responsible roles, said then-NCC Chairman James Echols, a Memphis merchant.
Also during the meeting, Kenneth Hood, a Gunnison, MS, cotton producer, was elected chairman of NCC, the organizations top position. He served as NCCs vice chairman during 2001 and succeeds Echols, who will serve as chairman of the NCCs Executive Committee this year.
Lange serves as vice president for policy analysis and program coordinator. He previously was director of economic services.
Mark Lange has demonstrated management and leadership capabilities commensurate with those needed to lead the council in its fundamental role of consensus building, Echols said.
It is widely recognized that in John Maguire, the cotton industry has the most capable government relations professional in the agriculture industry. John has built an impressive record while shaping the industrys strong Washington presence over the past 15 years and will continue to play a pivotal role in the industrys policy development and implementation activities.
Robert E. McLendon of Leary, GA, chairman of the NCC Executive Committee who also chaired the committee that developed these recommendations, said, The industry can feel secure that management of the organization remains in capable hands. The committee also was delighted that Gaylon Booker has agreed to serve in a consulting role in 2003 as the industry continues to deal with some very difficult issues.
Hood added that industry leadership believed it was important to announce these intentions now in order to allay any apprehension about plans for the future.
This will provide for a smooth transition in staff leadership while Gaylon Booker continues in his present role, Hood said.
Lange, with bachelors and masters degrees in economics from Indiana State University and a Ph.D. in the same discipline from Iowa State University, joined the NCC in 1990. He served as director of Economic Services until 1994, when he was named director of Economics and Information Services. Lange was elected to his present position in February 2001.
He has served on editorial boards and other committees in several professional agricultural economics associations and currently is a member of the National Agricultural Statistics Service Advisory Committee.
Maguire, responsible for coordinating all Washington activities of the council, including Congressional relations and working with presidential administration officials, joined the council staff in 1979 as Far East director for Cotton Council International (CCI) in Hong Kong.
He assumed additional duties as assistant director of Foreign Operations in 1982, and the next year he was named director of Foreign Operations and Executive Director of CCI. He became head of Washington Operations in 1986 and was elected a vice president two years later.
Prior to joining the Council, Maguire was with the Supima Association and with the American Yarn Spinners Association (AYSA) after earning his bachelors and masters degrees in textile engineering at Georgia Tech University.
Addressing delegates at the meeting, James Echols said U.S. cotton is on the threshold of economic recovery because it will be working under substantially improved farm policy and benefiting from improved retail demand for cotton products.
He said the NCCs immediate objective is to finalize a new farm bill that will apply to this years crop and will not impose additional significant restrictions on benefits. I remain optimistic that we can achieve this short-term objective.
Noting that the U.S. retail market for cotton textile products fell by about 1 million bale equivalents in 2001, Echols said the NCC also will press hard to solidify administration support for textile trade provisions that are favorable to the U.S. textile industry in every trade agreement under consideration.
I am pleased that the council has been asked to be the coordinating organization for the American Textile Alliance, a group formed to foster consensus-building and coordinated action on textile trade issues, he said. To our textile members, I would say that we will take that coordinating role seriously and will work very hard to help the organization deliver on its defined mission.
The Memphis merchant said international trade issues would be among the NCCs highest priorities in the months ahead. Among those will be attention to a new World Trade Organization round, renewal and expansion of the Andean Trade Pact and discussions on a Free Trade Agreement of the Americas.
The cotton industry has a major stake in the outcome of these initiatives, he said.
For the longer term, Echols said the U.S. cotton industry must ensure our government does not unilaterally discontinue or disproportionately reduce assistance for our farmers.
He said he believed that: 1) agricultural subsidies will still flourish worldwide and pressure will continue on reducing them, especially those considered to be trade distorting; and 2) farm policy will be ongoing rather than every five years or so and linked to international trade initiatives and other national priorities.
In the future, I believe we should become more proactive in integrating farm policy with rural development and environmental preservation, Echols said. To some extent, this simply means that we need to do a better job of making all interests understand that good farm policy should be the leading component of progressive rural development and good farm policy does make a valuable contribution to environmental preservation.
In recapping 2001 activity, Echols said the NCC worked to restore industry profitability in an economic climate that saw domestic mill consumption drop to the lowest level and carryover stocks rise to the highest level since the mid-1980s; 124 textile mills close with a corresponding loss of more than 60,000 jobs; and New York prices fall to 30 cents during harvest season.
The 9.8-million bale export estimate for this marketing year, he noted, will be the highest in 75 years and will boost U.S. cottons share of world cotton trade to 34 percent, compared to the normal 25 percent.
Among NCC achievements in 2001 were persistence in:
seeing that most of U.S. cottons priorities were included in a House-passed farm bill and in the bill passed by the Senate Agriculture Committee;
advancing Caribbean Basin Trade Preferences Act implementation and lessening the impact on U.S. textiles of other trade initiatives, including Chinas accession to the WTO;
getting increased appropriations for the boll weevil and pink bollworm eradication programs;
increasing funding for Cotton Council Internationals overseas market development efforts;
keeping Bollgard registered and crop protection materials available;
working through the NCCs Quality Task Force to improve fiber quality;
improving communications and reducing overall information dissemination costs; and
maintaining an all-time high membership support level despite tough economic conditions.
Hood, the newly elected chairman, has been highly active in the NCC, having served as a NCC vice chairman, treasurer and director and as chairman of its Farm Program and Economic Policy Committee.
Other NCC officers elected for 2002 include: Robert W. Greene, ginner, Courtland, AL, vice chairman; Allen Helms, producer, Clarkedale, AR; secretary-treasurer; and Robert E. McLendon, producer, Leary, GA, Operations Committee chairman.
Re-elected vice presidents were: W. Duke Kimbrell, manufacturer, Parkdale Mills, Gastonia, NC; and Fred Underwood, warehouseman, Lubbock, TX; Wayne Martin, crusher, Lubbock, TX; and Van A. May, cooperative official, Lubbock, TX.
Re-elected as NCC staff officers were Booker, president and CEO, and Craig Brown, vice president, Producer Affairs, and Lange, vice president, Policy Analysis and Program Coordinator, all of Memphis, TN; Maguire, vice president, Washington Operations; and Allen Terhaar, vice president, International Affairs, Washington.
CARY, NC Responding to the needs of its global members, INDA, Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, has established an International Trade Committee (ITC) focusing on government relations and international trade.
The mission of this committee is to identify and pursue opportunities that will enhance international trade of non-wovens, INDA said. Targeted areas of focus include: identifying tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade that discourage U.S. exports of nonwovens, and ensuring that INDA members have a conduit by which they can express their interests during trade negotiations involving the United States, the group noted.
The committee will also aim to create international trade-related educational opportunities for INDA members and publish statistical information regarding exports from and imports to the United States of nonwoven fabrics.
One of the first visible achievements of the ITC is the publishing of an International Trade newsletter on INDAs Web site, www.inda.org. The section, dedicated to keeping INDA members informed of government activities that impact their international operations, will focus on legislation, current events and other governmental affairs that impact the nonwovens industry.
Primary staff responsibility for the new committee will be handled by Peter G. Mayberry, INDAs director of government affairs, and Jessica E. Franken, INDA government affairs associate.
The International Trade Committee is comprised of Chairman Carl Lukach, DuPont Company; Jim Auber, Nordson Corporation; Jon Behm, Allegiance Healthcare Corp.; Richard P. Brenneman, Daikin America, Inc.; Gonzalo Castro, Allegiance Healthcare Corp.; Eric Conrad, SI Performance Technology; Jerry Fan, Scapa Polymerics; Greg Hearn, Hyosung America; R. Scott Miller, Procter & Gamble; Steve Ogle, Leggett & Platt; R. Bradley Potter, Bayer Corporation; Andy Riley, American Truetzschler, Inc.; Robert E. Simmonds, P.H. Glatfelter Company; Allan Strauss, Matador Converters Co. Ltd.; Lee J. Sullivan, Freudenberg Nonwovens North America; and C.K. Wong, U.S. Pacific Procurement Company, Ltd.
With the increasing breadth of the global economy, import/export issues are becoming ever more critical, and the formation of this committee will be a tremendous benefit for INDA member companies, Mayberry said. One of those benefits is the International Trade section on the INDA Web site, which will provide timely and understandable information that is tailored to the business of nonwovens.
Government relations is playing an even more vital role for INDA members, especially with the World Trade Organization (WTO) beginning a new round of global trade negotiations and numerous multilateral trade negotiations either under way or on the horizon, Mayberry added.
Editors note: The writer is an independent industry consultant and formerly executive director of the National Knitwear and Sportswear Association.
Your issue of February 4 makes clear the remarkable disconnect between what the Administration and its spokespersons continue to say and what they are, in fact, doing, or already have done.
Secretary Evans (supported by Congresswoman Sue Myrick) is quoted as emphasizing that in future trade negotiations, one of the principal areas that will be focused on is reciprocal market access ...
And going beyond reciprocal access, Evans is quoted as stressing opening particular identified markets.
On the facing page, the letter issued by the Northern Textile Association (NTA) hits the nail on the head. The Admini- stration already has made international commitments in Doha that are utterly and totally inconsistent with these promises and assurances. As the NTA letter illustrates, the deal at Doha is lined with undertakings to relieve developing countries of the need to provide reciprocal concessions. It is replete with permission to maintain otherwise illegal practices in the interests of furthering their economic development.
To be sure, the NTA can say such positions are simply unacceptable. Unfortunately, NTA to the contrary notwithstanding, they already have been accepted!
Similarly, on Pakistan, the Administration tries to take a pro-industry line domestically, but in fact, the giveaway is formidable, and not likely to end with Pakistans plea. Others will join the line.
The textile industry is being used as a negotiating coin for a variety of projects. Concerns about the outcome of the next round of multilateral trade negotiations should not be its first concern, as those negotiations wont be concluded anytime soon. (Indeed, one might note that their completion during the term of the present Administration is virtually impossible to imagine, which might have something to do with the Administrations willingness to make promises as to their outcome.) The industry needs to focus on what can and will be done now.
Beyond setting up a new working group to study its own promises, the Administrations only concrete textile action to date is the gift to Pakistan for participating in the struggle against terrorism. How many, recalling the Presidents brilliant opening statements to Congress on that issue, would think that it would be necessary to reward countries for coming out on the right side of an everyone must choose issue?
CHICAGO Apparel company Fruit of the Loom, Inc. announced, as a result of the continued weakness in textile and apparel sales, that it would close an additional manufacturing facility in Fayette, AL, affecting 290 employees.
Phase-down of the facility will begin immediately, with a permanent closure completed by April 28.
The company said it will provide employees a separation package that includes pay and benefits in accordance with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. Fruit of the Loom added that it has also contacted the State of Alabama Rapid Response Team to provide outplacement assistance and other services to employees.
Since filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December 1999, Fruit of the Loom has been in the process of restructuring operations and realigning its business strategies to focus on its core product lines.
WILMINGTON, DE DuPont Textiles and Interiors (DTI), a wholly owned subsidiary being formed by DuPont, and Ciba Specialty Chemicals announced a global business alliance to develop combined offerings for the DTI portfolio of brands, which now includes DuPont Stainmaster® and DuPont Teflon® brand fabric protector.
Ciba Specialty Chemicals and DuPont have been cooperating for several years on stain release and repellent finishes. This joint development and marketing agreement enables both companies to share intellectual and technical resources and serve the increasingly sophisticated needs of the consumer, they said.
As part of the agreement, DuPont Textiles and Interiors will provide Ciba with access to resources in its strategic business units, including strengths in the apparel and home textile markets, consumer marketing and brand management, DuPont said. In turn, Ciba will offer a broad textile effects portfolio, as well as expertise in textile chemical formulation, mill sales, technical application and quality assurance.
As part of the alliance, the Teflon marketing team, led by Teresa Kleinhans, global business manager, will be integrated into the DuPont Textiles and Interiors strategic business unit and continue to be responsible for the Teflon Fabric Protection business.
GREENVILLE, SC Delta Woodside Industries, Inc. announced that the New York Stock Exchange has notified the company that, based on the average stock price for the 30 trading-days ended February 22, the company is no longer considered below the $1 continued listing criterion.
In October, Delta announced being under the continued listing criterion of a minimum share price of $1 over a 30 trading-day period.
At a special meeting of shareholders on January 28, shareholders adopted an amendment to the companys articles of incorporation that provides for a reverse split. The board of directors approved a reverse split at 4:1.
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC Polymer Group, Inc. (PGI) said it believes it has met all conditions contained in the amended forbearance agreement required to be satisfied by February 22.
As such, the companys forbearance period with its senior lending group will remain in effect until March 29, but could end sooner in certain events.
Polymer Group added that it is continuing to negotiate with a third party in the restructuring of the company.
STATESVILLE, NC A fire destroyed the manufacturing section of Black and White Knitting Mills here on Feb. 22, according to reports.
Five employees working at the plant evacuated safely when the fire broke out.
Firefighters kept the fire from spreading to the warehouse.
Joe Okey Jr. (L), treasurer of ATMA, has the floor during the Tripartite Annual Meeting. Fred Moorhead Jr., ATMA vice chairman, awaits his turn.
Photo by Devin Steele
Editors note: Following is an interview with officials of the American Textile Machinery Association (ATMA). The interview was conducted by Editor Devin Steele during the groups annual meeting, which took place in conjunction with similar gatherings of two other capital equipment-related organizations in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico. The Tripartite Annual Meeting included members of ATMA, the American Paper Machinery Association (APMA) and the Process Equipment Manufacturers Association (PEMA®).
On hand for the Q&A were Kurt Scholler, ATMA chairman and CEO of American Truetzschler, Charlotte, NC; Harry W. Buzz Buzzerd Jr., president, Falls Church, VA; Clay Tyeryar, executive vice president and assistant treasurer, Falls Church, VA; W. Fred Moorhead Jr., sales manager of Marshall & Williams Co., Greenville, SC; and Joe Okey Jr., ATMA treasurer and president of American Monforts Corp., Charlotte, NC.
STN: The American Textile Machinery Exhibition-International (ATME-I) trade show dominated a lot of the headlines last year, with co-sponsors ATMA and Textile Hall Corp. being at the forefront of the issue. The matter finally was resolved, from a consolidation and location standpoint and from the standpoint that ATMA and Textile Hall will continue to partner for the shows. What factors led the two parties to come together to settle the sticking points?
Buzzerd: The objective consolidation was right for the industry. From the outset, in May of 1999, we said together we were going to consolidate. It took a long time to get there. THCs financial collapse did simplify many issues, but basically the objective was right and shared.
STN: Did the relationship between ATMA and THC suffer as a result of the ATME-I issue?
Buzzerd: Yes, for awhile.
STN: How would you describe that relationship now?
Buzzerd: Excellent. Objectives have shifted in focus. The citys purchase of the (Palmetto Expo Center) hastened the process of amelioration and compromise.
STN: As for the ATME-I show itself, what are your goals for the event in 2004 in Greenville, SC; and in 2006 in Atlanta?
Buzzerd: For 2004, its going to be international in composition that is, from the standpoint of the exhibitors, with strong regional attendance from the East Coast. That will make it a very substantial show.
As for 2006, weve said it in our press releases: Its going to be a Megatex event, bringing together other trade shows and association events under the same roof. Its going to be unique in composition and it will attract a world base not only exhibitors, but we expect the composition will attract a different mix of visitors than have ever been to ATME-I before.
STN: With virtually all sectors of the industry so severely depressed, does concern exist among your ranks about the success of the ATME-I show, even a consolidated version, for 2004?
Tyeryar: Yes, there is concern. However, we are very positively surprised with the very strong initial sign-ups for the 2004 show.
STN: What will be some of the changes exhibitors and visitors can expect for the 2004 edition?
Tyeryar: Well, its 2002, lets not push that. These are unique times, but there is a trend right now for smaller booths and more static displays.
STN: Lets turn our attention to your membership and sector. How would you rate 2001 compared to the previous two years for textile machinery manufacturers?
Okey: Its been a long, downhill ride and it looks like theres going to be a big bottom on that U-curve. The U-curve is going to go up very slowly, not sharply. We dont have a V-curve. We have a big U with a big, flat bottom.
STN: What are the biggest factors negatively affecting textile machinery manufacturers?
Buzzerd: World overcapacity; basic structural shifts of world production; the U.S. textile herd is still being culled; the overvalued U.S. dollar; the rape of U.S. textiles by the world textile community; and inattention from Washington.
STN: How are textile machinery manufacturers reacting to these factors?
Buzzerd: Theyre holding on with their finger tips and finding some exports.
STN: What are current export conditions and what have made them such?
Buzzerd: We still have some specialized needs out there in the world and were trying to uncover them from time to time. Of course, the dollar works against us, but sometimes when you have it and the other guy doesnt, you sell it.
STN: What role can the U.S. government play or has the U.S. government played in making those conditions more favorable?
Buzzerd: At the risk of being superficial, we support anything the U.S. textile industries say they want that will make them stronger.
STN: Has recently enacted international trade laws (Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act, Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, et al) affected textile machinery manufacturers in any way? If so, how?
Buzzerd: Logically, theyve opened some export market doors, but the trade-off of domestic market sales loss has been destructive and makes these bad deals.
STN: As the economic health of the domestic textile industry is of significant importance to your association, ATMA has resolved to support public policy initiatives of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute and its partners that will enhance the market for textile machinery manufacturers through a vibrant and expanding textile manufacturing base. How are you advancing this support?
Scholler: Were in the American Textile Alliance. [The ATA is a coalition of various textile and related associations that meets to discuss issues affecting the industry and attempts to gain a consensus and develop action steps. If members of ATA are fighting among themselves, we stay out of it. If theres general agreement with them, well try to do anything we can to support their position.
STN: Any other legislative issues ATMA anticipates for the coming year?
Buzzerd: Were going to participate in the Coalition for a Sound Dollar and were going to participate in coalitions that are for economic stimulus bills. Why would you lobby for economic stimulus? After all, It has been kiboshed in Congress. Its a political game now and were not going to back off. Something is rotten in Denmark here.
STN: What do you think are the keys to long-term viability of textile equipment manufacturers?
Okey: Adaptability, agility and unity.
STN: How is ATMA helping members prepare for todays challenges?
Moorhead: Were shifting priorities based on an extensive membership survey. Were going to put more resources in some areas and fewer resources in others. In general, were going to be more market-driven and were probably loading up in some government affairs activities.
STN: Kurt, last year you mentioned as one of your goals the increase of ATMA members through the broadening of membership criteria. Can you update us on how far this criteria has advanced?
Scholler: What we have done since then was prepare the groundwork for manufacturers to join ATMA by shifting focus on what their commitment to the U.S. market is in total and not just in whether or not they have a manufacturing facility (in the U.S.). Secondly, out of the new circle of possible candidates, so far we have just one new member that fits the new criteria, but there are still a few pretty good candidates that we are working on.
STN: Another pursuit for your administration was to maintain and expand alliances. Can you and others at the table cite examples of how this has been done and how they have helped your association?
Scholler: The American Textile Alliance, as Buzz mentioned, is one good example.
Buzzerd: And Kurt has been quietly effective in creating some alliances with some offshore entities.
Scholler: Also, on the machinery side, this (tripartite) meeting is absolutely proving the wisdom of reaching out within the capital equipment and parts sector to talk to each other about one anothers needs, conducting business in the changing world and, frankly, just producing meetings that you can afford to attend together that you wouldnt be able to separately.
Moorhead: I think separate identities are kept, too. This meeting doesnt combine everyone into one group. Even though we are meeting together with joint speakers and in other settings where there is interest to all groups, were all maintaining our independence as separate associations.
Okey: Everybody has been very positive about this combined meeting.
STN: Are there any other noteworthy matters ATMA will address this year?
Scholler: It is becoming increasingly important for American textile machinery manufacturers to get involved in the export business. And ATMA has already in the past been quite helpful in reaching out to other markets by offering joint exhibition space, whether its Asian shows or other shows, along with trade pavilions.
Tyeryar: Case in point is Citme, the October show in Beijing this year. Weve been asked by show organizers to organize the USA pavilion, which is open to members and non-members alike.
Scholler: Along with that, there is an exchange of ideas and opinions about other marketing activities in those markets, so from that standpoint, I think ATMA can help the manufacturer in the United States to get a more global view, which I think is extremely important.
Tyeryar: Were also going to do a trade show seminar, most likely in early April in Charlotte, which will focus on the 04 and 06 ATME-I shows. Plus, were planning an ITMA 03 update, where we will explain what ATMA is offering exclusively for the domestic textile and machinery industry, beyond the travel package. This is new and unique. It shows that the ITMA organizers have entrusted ATMA to help them in certain areas.
STN: How are ATMA travel and services packages to ITMA 2003 in Birmingham, England selling?
Tyeryar: Great, considering the current economy. We havent started heavily marketing or promoting this yet.
STN: How will companies benefit from this package?
Tyeryar: A unique part is now, we can help them with their booth needs. The show organizers have never before helped exhibitors in operational matters before, with their booths. And this is for the American textile and machinery industry, not just ATMA members.
SITTING DOWN must be painful to those Textile Caucus U.S. House members who were swayed by a list of promises to vote for the trade promotion authority (TPA) measure in December. The pledges, which came in the form of a letter from Commerce Secretary Donald Evans, are aimed at stopping the domestic industrys bleeding and improving its global standing. The circumstances surrounding the vote with the nine-point communiqué emerging during an overtime session have been perceived as a hold-your-nose-and-vote scenario. And at least five of those Republican congresspersons have been excoriated for nearly three months for casting the ballots that pushed the legislation through by a razor-thin margin, 215-214.
To which we say: We hope those blisters cover thick skin.
Most recently, radio ads in parts of the Carolinas have criticized at least five of those lawmakers for their support over the bill. The ads, paid for by the U.S. Business and Industry Council, have taken aim at South Carolina Rep. Jim DeMint of Greenville and North Carolina Reps. Cass Ballenger of Hickory, Richard Burr of Winston-Salem, Robin Hayes of Concord and Sue Myrick of Charlotte. The ads claim that these respective legislators are helping to destroy U.S. textile jobs and urge constituents to call these elected officials to voice their concerns. The U.S. Business and Industry Council, a trade group representing small textile manufacturers, said the ads are aimed at prompting the lawmakers to vote against the bill when it is returned from the Senate.
MEANWHILE, prospective opponents of some of these representatives are rising up and piling on those burnt backsides. The TPA vote, which under the microscope of scrutiny is almost becoming a referendum, may indeed make some of those GOP lawmakers vulnerable in mid-term elections.
Ron Daugherty, owner of Miami Thread, a Drexel, NC-based thread maker, said he will challenge Ballenger because he turned his back on the 10th District with the TPA vote. Daugherty, in fact, switched his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat to oppose the 16-year incumbent. In announcing his intentions last week, Daugherty said his reason for running is it is impossible to ignore the fact that our area consistently leads the nation in job losses while observing our current representative, Cass Ballenger, amassing the worst voting record of all 435 representatives.
And Democrats have been lining up to at least consider opposing Hayes and flogging him for his trade promotion vote in the media. Said one potential opponent: Robin Hayes looked people in the eye and said Im not going to let them take your job. And with his arm twisted and a tear in his eye, he did just that.
Likewise, DeMint has been taken out to the woodshed just as often. Most recently, about 70 textile industry leaders attended a luncheon at Greenvilles Poinsett Club for a luncheon featuring Republican Phil Bradley, who they hope will take DeMints 4th District seat. Heres what one of those industry representatives had to say about DeMint, the two-term congressman: When youve lost 68,000 jobs and see 100 plants close, a lot of people feel we dont have good representation or a congressman who can stand up to his own party. The speaker: Roger Chastain, president of Mount Vernon Mill and the event organizer, as quoted in The Greenville News. DeMint, by the way, happened to be addressing the local chapter of Republican Women in a room down the hall. No mention of his ears burning, too, during the function.
ALL OF THOSE TPA swing voters have defended their decision while taking their lumps. They all say they believe that the Bush Administration will follow through on its promises. Until then, they find themselves in a gooey situation. DeMint, perhaps, best summed up the quagmire he and his colleagues find themselves in: The free trade folks call me a protectionist; the textile people say Ive betrayed them.
For what its worth, at least the administration seems to be making an effort to appease critics of those congressmen. Visits to textile country by administration officials, including Commerce Secretary Donald Evans, for meetings with industry representatives are encouraging. But actions and results are needed to unite and make believers out of this industry, which has been down the road of broken promises too many times. We ask that you be patient, at least until the industry sees solid results and not for the sake of those elected officials, but for the sake of this industry.
Its OK to hold the paddles ... but try to refrain from using them just yet.