Rieter, Saurer
withdraw from ITMA 2003

June 23, 2003

ITMA rejects notion SARS a threat in U.K.

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - Saurer and Rieter, two of Switzerland's largest textile machinery suppliers, announced Tuesday that they have withdrawn from the International Exhibition of Textile Machinery (ITMA) due to the threat of SARS.

The event is scheduled for October 22-29 in Birmingham, England.

The two companies made the announcements separately here during a press conference, organized by Swissmem, the national machinery association, to highlight their members' products and services at ITMA.

Both companies indicated that their customers had expressed reluctance to travel because of a fear of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) among travelers.

Saurer, in a release, said that, "In talks with many of our customers, we have learned that there is a strong feeling of insecurity and confusion in the minds of people, and many have told us that they will not take part in the ITMA. Understandably, opinions are greatly divided on what implications SARS may have in the future, as very different aspects come into play which have to be weighed against one another."

ITMA organizers, in a statement, rejected that notion.

"The idea that there is a risk or threat to the successful running of ITMA 2003, its visitors or exhibitors is wholly unrealistic and factually incorrect," Andrew Bird, operations director for ITMA 2003, said. "SARS is not and has never been a matter for concern in the UK. There has never been any restriction on incoming visitors to the UK as a result of SARS and there are no active cases of SARS in the UK.

"More than 70 percent of visitors to ITMA travel from inside Europe - an area that has suffered no adverse effects from SARS. The World Health Organization states that China remains the only country at risk from SARS."

Saurer and Rieter indicated that, during a special meeting of Swissmem, they had asked for a postponement of ITMA but the association did not support the request.

"While we are sorry to lose these companies, plans for ITMA 2003 continue to progress well, with the latest figures demonstrating a marked increase in both visitor pre-registration figures and countries represented by exhibitors," Bird said. "There have been no visitors or visitors groups that have indicated any reluctance to travel to ITMA as a result of SARS."

Research & Education

June 23, 2003

NCSU honors Frontier’s Perkins

RALEIGH, NC — George R. Perkins Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of Frontier Spinning Mills, Inc., has been named the 2003 Leader of the Year for the North Carolina State University College of Textiles.
Kappa Tau Beta Leadership Fraternity and Phi Psi Fraternity choose the Leader of the Year each year for the College of Textiles. The award recognizes a textile industry executive who has shown outstanding leadership.
A ceremony honoring Perkins and his work was held recently at the College of Textiles. At the ceremony, Perkins said that the textile community needs to solve problems together.
“We as an industry must find answers to some of the industry’s biggest problems in order to have continued success,” he said. “The students of the College of Textiles will be solving not only these issues but also the issues of our future. We need strong students now to have proven leaders in this industry in the future.”
Perkins is a 1964 NC State College of Textiles graduate with a major in textile technology. He began his career as a management trainee with JP Stevens Company in New York, became sales manager at Federal Spinning Company in Sanford, NC, and in 1980 founded Imperial Yarns, serving as president and CEO for seven years.
In 1988, he established Pioneer Yarn Mills and served as president and CEO until the company merged with Unifi’s Spun Yarn Division in 1993. He served there until 1996, when he founded Frontier Spinning Mills.
Perkins is active in industry associations, including the American Yarn Spinners Association (AYSA) and the North Carolina Manufacturers Association, among others. He is also a member of a number of corporate boards and has affiliations with Meredith College Board of Trustees and the Central Carolina Community College Board of Trustees.


FIT graduation

NEW YORK CITY — Dr. Joyce F. Brown (C), president of FIT, joins Anna Wintour and Calvin Klein after graduation ceremonies for the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) at Radio City Music Hall. Wintour, editor in chief of Vogue magazine, gave the commencement address, while Klein, a well-known fashion designer, received an honorary degree. About 2,600 students received degrees.

Photo by Jerry Speier

Research & Education

June 23, 2003

NTC names Jacobs director

Jacobs

WILMINGTON, DE — The National Textile Center (NTC) has named Dr. Martin Jacobs as executive director.

Jacobs brings more than 30 years of experience in research and development, including 25 years of management experience.

Jacobs fills the position as the previous director, Joe Cunning, steps down to pursue other interests. Cunning had been director of the NTC since its inception in 1990 and will stay on in a consulting role.

“We had a number of terrific candidates,” Cunning said. “He’s got the right credentials, the right attitude and the spirit we need to lead an organization with such a big job to do.”

The NTC is a research consortium of eight universities: Auburn, Clemson, Cornell, Georgia Tech, Philadelphia, North Carolina State, California-Davis and Massachusetts-Dartmouth. The NTC is the partnership by which these universities collaborate to conduct academic research programs in support of the U.S. fiber/textile/fiber products/retail (FTFPR) industrial complex. The NTC is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce. To date, more than $100 million has been invested in this collaborative research program.

Jacobs brings a wealth of experience to the NTC, including nine years as technical director for the Velcro Group Corporation and 21 years with Uniroyal, Inc., including eight years as vice president for research and development for Naugahyde® coated fabrics. Jacobs is past chairman of the board of trustees of TRI/Princeton and remains a member of its board and executive committee.

In addition to a Ph.D. in polymer chemistry from Princeton University, he also has a B.S. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He has 18 patents.

Jacobs said he is enthusiastic about his new position, but knows he faces a daunting challenge as the U.S. textile industry struggles to remain competitive.

“My focus will be on delivering what the NTC promises in its mission statement: To enhance the knowledge base that keeps the U.S. textile industry competitive,” Jacobs said. “The NTC is a vital organization and I’ll do everything I can to maintain that vitality. Joe Cunning leaves some very big shoes to be filled, but I’ll do my best to maintain the rate of progress that Joe has achieved.”


ITC earns accreditation

GREENVILLE, SC — ITT Technologies, Inc. (IT3) has earned accreditation through the Registrars Accreditation Board and American National Standards Institute National Accreditation Program (ANSI-RAB NAP) to offer certification to the ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems Standard.

IT3, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Institute of Textile Technology, specializes in providing services to manufactures to make them more competitive and profitable. The ability to offer certification services to ISO 14001 and soon to ISO 9001 is a natural extension of the mission of IT3.

With Registration Services located here, IT3 is centrally located and able to provide personal service and expertise. IT3 has employees with extensive experience in textiles, metals, plastics, automotive/assembly and environmental issues, as well as other industries.

Awards

June 23, 2003

Springs employees recognized

During Springs’ 50-Year Club event, attendees celebrated the 100th birthday of member Annie Twitty (L) of Kershaw, SC. Her daughter-in-law Judy Twitty accompanies her.

FORT MILL, SC — Several Springs Industries employees have earned awards, honors, certifications or recognition recently.

Fredericka “Ricki” Phipps was named the company’s Rewards and Recognition Corporate Associate of the Year by Crandall Bowles, Springs’ chairman and chief executive officer.

An inventory control analyst at the Customer Service Center in Lancaster, SC, Phipps was selected from among 44 annual winners representing nearly every facility in the company at a luncheon held in their honor at the Baxter Hood Center in Rock Hill, SC.

“I don’t know when in my life I’ve been so shocked,” Phipps said after hearing she had been selected for the honor. “When people like me, who aren’t in management, get appreciated like this, it really makes a difference.”

“Ricki was selected because she embodies what this program is all about — going the extra mile,” said Bowles. “Her performance achieved measurable results that enhanced our business and contributed to our bottom line.”

Specifically, Phipps, who joined Springs in 1969, stood out among her competitors for helping develop an automated process to replace a tedious, manual task.

“Ricki has offered suggestions to improve the efficiency of not only our department, but also Accounts Payable,” said Amelia Clontz, Phipps’ former supervisor. “The automated process she suggested is benefiting one of Springs’ customers and has significantly reduced data entry. Her idea will reduce by nearly 11,000 the number of lines that Accounts Payable associates have to key in each year for that customer.”

This automated process will soon be used for other vendors, multiplying its benefits.

Meanwhile, Frieda Price, the company’s medical supervisor coordinator, was recently invited to join the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International, for achieving academic success and demonstrating a personal commitment to nursing excellence.

Price, who will complete her master’s in nursing at Queens University of Charlotte, NC, this fall, was inducted into the Mu Psi Chapter-at-Large in April in a ceremony at the university. A 17-year Springs employee, Price is a registered nurse (RN) and a certified occupational health nurse-specialist (COHN-S).
Brown

Additionally, Chip Brown, a manager of environmental, safety and health, recently completed all requirements for certification as a Certified Safety Professional (CSP). The CSP designation, granted by the nationally accredited Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP), is a benchmark indicating that a safety professional is at the top of his or her chosen field.

To qualify as a CSP, Brown had to meet academic requirements and pass two extensive examinations. The exams are 200 questions each and take up to five hours to complete. Brown passed the first exam in 2001.

“My journey to become a Certified Safety Professional began in November 1997,” said Brown. “With the completion of formal education, the culmination of 15 years of experience in the safety profession, and most importantly, the passing of two big exams, I’ve finally achieved my goal.”

Springs also recently held its annual celebration to honor employees with at least 50 years of service to the company.

Nearly 70 of the 97 employees in the 50-Year Club attended the luncheon. They were welcomed by company executives including Bowles, whose father, former president and board chairman, H.W. Close, started the club in 1975.

Almost 20 of the club’s living members are still active employees, 13 of whom have worked more than 50 years. In fact, more than half of the members exceeded the half-century of service mark.

The company’s longest-serving employee is Josephine Eubanks, with 72 years of service at Lyman Finishing Plant in Lyman, SC.

Attendees celebrated a second, though no less significant milestone during the event — the centennial birthday of member Annie Twitty of Kershaw, SC. Twitty, who turned 100 May 16th, retired from Springs’ Kershaw Plant 35 years ago. She attends the 50 Year Club ceremony each year.

“I was 14 when I started at Springs,” Twitty said. “Back then, you had to get a permit and finish the eighth grade to work full-time. I really enjoyed working. Thanks to Springs, I always had food on my table and could send my kids to college.”

Suppliers

June 23, 2003

Hubtex, Motrec strike deal

SPARTANBURG, SC — Officials of Hubtex North America announced recently that the company has entered into a representation partnership with Motrec, Inc., the internationally known manufacturer of industrial and utility vehicles headquartered in Bromptonville, Quebec, Canada.

Motrec, founded in 1988, uses automotive components to manufacture a wide variety of industrial vehicles powered by battery, gas or diesel fuel, depending upon individual application.

Officials at Hubtex, which is itself a leading manufacturer of material-handling equipment, say the move will complement and extend the Hubtex line, thus providing additional resources for textile manufacturers.

“We are pleased to be associated with Motrec,” said Markus Heinis, president of Hubtex North America. “Representing their very diverse line adds a whole new dimension to the material-handling solutions we can offer the textile industry.”

Heinis noted that Motrec vehicles include tow tractors for pulling loads such as A-frames, carts and roving cans; vehicles for yarn and roving transport; personnel carriers for roving operators; burden carriers, heavy carts and toolboxes; and mobile lift platforms, as well as trailers for these vehicles. “These are all vehicles that have specific textile-related applications,” Heinis said. “And it’s important to remember that Motrec can also modify vehicles to customers’ individual specifications.”

Motrec equipment also includes models equipped for welding, ambulance and fire equipment vehicles, passenger carriers for six to 11 riders, airport courtesy vehicles and turbine oilers.

Company officials say Hubtex will sell and service the Motrec units in the same way it does its own specialized material handling equipment, stocking parts at its facility here and offering technical assistance and training to customer personnel.


National Adhesives installs Cavitec textile laminator

BRIDGEWATER, NJ — National Adhesives installed a Cavitec™ textile laminator from Switzerland-based Cavitec AG to enable customers to reproduce conditions in their manufacturing plants and try various adhesives and application methods.

“This new 600 mm wide laminator allows customers to test adhesives and substrates off-site,” said Earl Burns, marketing manager for the Textiles Division, BONDMASTER® business, National Adhesives. “We can verify adhesive performance in an environment exactly like that of our customers and prospective customers.”

Adhesive performance data helps textile laminators select an ideal adhesive and the best application methods. The information gained by using this equipment allows lamination managers to make good decisions, according to national.

Manufacturers in the apparel, protective outerwear, technical textile and automotive industries can keep their laminators in production mode while this unit gives test data. As improved adhesives come onto the market, they offer benefits such as reduced usage, stronger and more reliable bonds and higher productivity through quicker curing times, the manufacturer said.

Located here, the Cavitec laminator is ready for test requests, according to National Adhesives. Burns noted that prospects and customers wishing to run tests should send at least 50 meters of fabrics.

Separately, National Adhesives, a unit of National Starch and Chemical, announced that a new technical data sheet describes how an industry supplier can help customers through testing and the performance that can be achieved when laminating textiles with reactive hot melt adhesives. For testing, the Cavitec laminator enables customers to investigate new substrates and adhesives without tying up their production lines, National said.

During this research, technicians can vary the coat weights and pattern applications with reactive or thermoplastic hot melt adhesives.

The data sheet also lists adhesive characteristics such as low modulus, fast cure, accelerated green strength development, moderate to high tack and resistance to water and solvents. Also, these specialty adhesives adhere to a wide variety of fabrics and textiles, according to the literature.

Pickin' Cotton

June 23, 2003

Groups aim to alter China trade policy

For many in the U.S. textile industry, changing U.S. trade policy toward China is a matter of survival. Having seen textile companies file for bankruptcy, close factories and lay off workers over the past few years — developments blamed on the influx of cheap imports, mainly from China — industry officials want to do something about what they see as the biggest threat to their business.

At a Washington news conference earlier this month, a coalition of six U.S. trade groups — including the National Cotton Council, the American Textile Manufacturers Institute, the American Yarn Spinners Association and the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition — announced that they want the Bush administration to levy tariffs on clothing imported from China, a long list that may include cotton robes, brassieres and knit fabrics.

According to a report from ATMI, without U.S. government action, China will gain control of 65 percent to 75 percent of the U.S. apparel market once quotas on Chinese imports are removed on January 1, 2005. Textile makers fear that they will be out of business once all the import quotas on Chinese products are lifted.

The industry wants to cut the amount of Chinese goods entering the U.S. Its members also want to prevent Chinese goods from taking advantage of regional free-trade deals now being negotiated, such as the proposed agreement with Central American countries. The six groups want to ensure that trade agreements do not include tariff preference levels, which could allow U.S. trade partners to re-export Chinese and other Asian products to the U.S. duty-free.

“The inclusion of (tariff preference levels) would undercut more than $5 billion in U.S. textile export trade with Central America and threaten tens of thousands of U.S. jobs,” said the groups in a joint statement released following their meeting.

From January 2001 through May 2003, the U.S. textile industry lost 267,700 jobs, and hundreds of factories were shut, ATMI said. Meanwhile, sales of Chinese textiles to the U.S. jumped 63 percent to more than $3.1 billion last year.

Wire service stories reported that China’s textile trade group, wanting to avoid a trade battle with the U .S., was willing to put in place voluntary export quotas, normally banned under World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.

Still, that may not be enough for U.S. textile makers that have seen their businesses suffer. U.S. mills have been disappointed with the way the Bush administration has handled textile-related issues. Industry officials noted that President Bush himself had stated in 2001 that he would “ensure that the interests of our textile industry and workers are at the heart of our trade negotiations.” But industry members have seen few favorable results. Recently, generous textile trade concessions made to Vietnam by the U.S. government under a trade deal caused more frustration.

“The U.S. government’s lack of follow-through on its commitments concerning textile trade policy has thrown the U.S. textile, fiber and apparel industry and its nearly 1 million workers into a life-or-death struggle,” said Billy Moore, chairman of ATMI. Moore, who also is executive vice president of governmental and investor relations at Unifi, Inc., said the industry will “take any and all political steps” to ensure its survival.

China has been a concern to the cotton and textile business not only because of massive Chinese imports. U.S. cotton exporters also have complained about China’s failure to comply with its commitments following its accession to the WTO in December 2001. Under the accession agreement, China agreed to give U.S. products access to its huge market.

But for farm products, particularly, access has been difficult to obtain. Allen F. Johnson, the chief U.S. agriculture trade negotiator, has said that China has failed to give access to crops imported from the U.S. despite its promise to do so, violating its WTO obligations. Johnson was in Beijing earlier this month for discussions about China’s tariff rate quota system, which is blamed for blocking access for the crops. The TRQ system, implemented for bulk commodities like cotton, wheat, corn and soybeans, limits the amount of imported products that can enter China at low tariffs.

Associations

June 23, 2003

Major succeeds Mann as president

Outgoing Textile Council President Hollis Mann (L), plant manager of Mount Vernon Mills in Tallassee, AL, receives a plaque for his service to Manufacture Alabama by incoming President David Major, director of manufacturing for Frontier Yarns in Wetumpka, AL.

PANAMA CITY BEACH, FL — Manufacture Alabama’s Textile Council recently completed the annual meeting at the Marriott’s Bay Point Resort here, with more than 150 members in attendance.

Highlighting the meeting was the election of new officers and directors. David Major, director of manufacturing for Frontier Yarns in Wetumpka, AL, was elected to succeed Hollis Mann, plant manager of Mount Vernon Mills in Tallassee, AL, as president of the Textile Council.

Elected to serve the Textile Council as first vice president was Steve Adair, senior vice president of Marketing and Sales Center for Johnston Industries in Valley, AL. Alan Scarbrough, vice president of Engineered Specialty Fabrics Group for Kappler, Inc. in Guntersville, AL, was elected as second vice president.

Bill Hotalen, in charge of Production Planning for Prewett Associated Mills in Fort Payne, AL, was elected secretary.

Major is a graduate of Auburn University with a B.S. degree in textile management and an M.S. degree from the Institute of Textile Technology. He has served the textile industry for more than 29 years.

Adair is a graduate of Auburn University with an undergraduate degree in textile management. He has served more than 32 years in the industry, starting with WestPoint Pepperell in New York City, then Avondale Mills and finally with Johnston Industries in Valley, AL.

Scarbrough is a graduate of Emory University, where he received a degree in chemistry in 1981 and an M.B.A. from Mercer University in 1986. He has served in management with Bonar Fabrics, as well as with Milliken and Company. He is now with Kappler as vice president of Engineered Specialty Fabrics Group.

Hotalen graduated from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, GA. After college he worked for various companies in sales and accounting and for the past 21 years he has worked in several areas of knitting and finishing. He works with Prewett Associated Mills in Fort Payne, AL, in charge of production planning.

Board members also were elected during the meeting. Directors with terms expiring in 2004 include:

• Ron Fantroy, Shaw Industries, Andalusia, AL;
• Bill Pearson, Pearson Industries, Inc., Prattville, AL; and
• Tony Yawn, Amoco Fabrics & Fibers, Roanoke, AL.

Directors with terms expiring in 2005 include:
• Jim Dixon, Twitchell, Dothan, AL;
• Craig Ivey, Solutia, Inc., Foley, AL; and
• JT Taunton, Russell Corporation, Alexander City, AL.

Directors with terms expiring in 2006 include:
• Toni Cauble, WestPoint Stevens, West Point, GA;
• Alan Davis, RadiciSpandex, Tuscaloosa, AL; and
• Corky Fountain, Vanity Fair Intimates, Monroeville, AL.

Also serving on the board of directors is Mann, immediate past president; and Charlie Britton of Alabama Power Company, who is the Textile Council Partner chairman.


VF’s Littrell to keynote IC&E

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC — Janet Littrell, director of Consumer Marketing for VF Corporation, will deliver the keynote address at this year’s International Conference & Exhibition (IC&E), sponsored by the American Association of Textile Chemists & Colorists (AATCC).

The IC&E takes place September 9-12 in Greenville, SC.

Littrell’s address is titled, “Speed to Market” and focuses on color innovation. She will deliver the address at 8:15 a.m. on Wednesday, September 10 at the Palmetto Expo Center.

In her address, Littrell will cover implementation of new color management processes that shorten time to market, reduce cost and improve overall product quality. She will describe a pilot program between VF brands and key vendors and the education process targeted to VF employees and key business partners.

Littrell has more than 27 years of experience in the retail apparel industry, working as a buyer and in merchandising and marketing. Her address will highlight the Concept 2 Consumer (C2C) track at the IC&E. AATCC introduced the C2C track last year, bringing the creative aspects of the product development process together with the technical aspects to address common problems and collaborate on solutions. The IC&E features a technical track in addition to the C2C track.

ATMI head Shackelford resigns

June 23, 2003

Shackelford

WASHINGTON, DC — Less than a year on the job, Parks Shackelford submitted his resignation Monday as president of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI) to join a U.S. sugar producer.

Shackelford, who plans to work through the summer, will join Florida Crystals Corp., one of the country’s largest sugar companies, as a lobbyist.

Shackelford joined the institute last summer to succeed Carlos Moore as only the fourth chief executive in ATMI’s 54-year history.

As president, Shackelford served as the association’s top officer responsible for the day-to-day operation of ATMI, subject to the policies and direction of the ATMI Board of Directors and ATMI chairman. He also served as ATMI’s chief lobbyist.

Shackelford will be returning to an industry with which he has more familiarity, based on his experience in the agriculture sector. He has served as staff director for the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Cotton, Rice & Sugar and held several positions at the USDA.
ATMI, which along with the industry has been forced to downsize over the past few years, did not disclose plans to find a successor.

Just days before the announcement, Shackelford participated in a summit and press conference of five other textile-related organizations on the subject of trade policy, particularly as it relates to China.

Such a coming together of industry groups — who have held divergent positions on trade matters in recent years — has drawn speculation in industry circles that either an association merger is in the offing or at least better cooperation between these factions is emerging.

Fighting back

June 23, 2003

Industry groups come together
to lobby against China threat

AYSA President Jim Chesnutt (blue shirt) of National Spinning Co., interjects comments during a presentation by Jim Leonard (R) of the U.S. Dept. of Commerce.

Photo by Devin Steele

By Devin Steele

WASHINGTON, DC — Putting past differences aside, six major trade associations representing the U.S. textile and fiber industry met here on June 10 to develop a coordinated lobbying campaign aimed at ensuring “the industry’s survival.”

Specifically, the groups came together to focus on a lobbying effort designed to convince the U.S. government to act swiftly in countering the threat China poses to domestic textile manufacturing, as well as the entire manufacturing spectrum.

In a show of unity the textile industry has not seen since the late 1980s, officers of the associations came together for a seven-hour “summit” at a hotel here. The next day, they apprised the press of their mission and intentions during a teleconference from the offices of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI).

Besides ATMI, represented were the American Trade Manufacturing Action Coalition (AMTAC), National Textile Association (NTA), the American Yarn Spinners Association (AYSA), the National Cotton Council (NCC) and the American Fiber Manufacturers Association (AFMA).

“It was refreshing and wonderful to see this great industry come together as one and be aggressive about what needs to happen in order to preserve American jobs,” Allen Gant, ATMI’s second vice chairman and CEO of Glen Raven of Glen Raven, NC, said in kicking off the teleconference. “Please understand, we are concerned about American jobs and we are concerned about this industry.”

The groups released a report from ATMI, available at www.atmi.org, showing that unless the government acts, China will gain control of between 65 percent and 75 percent of the U.S. apparel market once quotas on Chinese imports are removed on January 1, 2005 and will destroy the U.S. textile and apparel industries.

“We were all together in one room and with one unanimous voice speaking about the most tenacious problems that we have in front of us, which is China,” Gant said. “We’re sure it is the largest threat that U.S. manufacturing has today. China’s incredible growth, for the U.S., has displaced tens of thousands of jobs. In fact, in textiles and apparel about 268,000 jobs have been displaced as a result of China.”

The initial goal of the campaign is to persuade the U.S. government to implement the special textile China safeguard in an early and effective way to moderate the massive surge of Chinese exports. At the meeting, the organizations agreed to work together on submitting new safeguard petitions to the government in short order.

The lobbying effort will also concentrate on preventing Chinese goods from unfairly taking advantage of regional free-trade agreements now being negotiated, in particular the proposed Central American agreement. The associations agreed to work against the inclusion of exceptions, called tariff preference levels (TPLs), that allow Chinese and other Asian textile exports to enter the region duty-free. The inclusion of TPLs would undercut more than $5 billion in U.S. textile export trade with Central America and threaten tens of thousands of U.S. jobs, the groups said.

Litmus test

Billy Moore, ATMI chairman, said that government action against China will help offset the “terrible, embarrassing results” of the Vietnam trade negotiations and enable the Bush administration to begin to pay more than lip service to the industry.

“President Bush has said that the interests of our industry and our workers will be ‘the heart of the government’s trade agreements. Minimizing the impact of trade agreements on the textile industry is at the top of the industry’s trade agenda,” said Moore, executive vice president for governmental and investor relations for Unifi, Inc., Greensboro, NC. “Secretary of Commerce Don Evans came before us and said that we now have a friend in Washington and that you now should know that you can trust us.

“The united industry today is issuing a challenge to the government to stand and deliver on those commitments by using the China textile safeguard and not allowing China to take unfair advantage of the proposed Central American Free Trade Agreement.”

Gant later called this challenge a “litmus test” for the administration and that political pressure will be put on lawmakers to push the White House to initiating the China safeguard.

“This will be a political hot potato,” Gant said. “Those (elected officials) who aren’t interested in saving jobs should watch out.”

According to a release issued by the six groups, from March 2002 to March 2003, the U.S. government has “stood by” while the China’s textile and apparel exports to the United States have surged 140 percent, the biggest increase in history. During the same period, the U.S. textile industry closed more than 50 plants and more than 40,000 textile employees lost their jobs.

Moreover, despite pleas by the U.S. textile industry and dozens of other manufacturing groups, the U.S. government has refused to move against China’s illegal currency regime that gives its exports a 40 percent price advantage over U.S. manufactured goods, according to the groups.

‘Dire straits’

During the teleconference, Roger Milliken, chairman and CEO of Milliken & Co., Spartanburg, SC, used some choice phrases in describing the job erosion occurring in domestic manufacturing. The situation has created a “grave crisis” and has put the entire manufacturing base in “dire straits” because of America’s “misguided trade policy,” he said.

“This is a national disease that we’re suffering from,” said Milliken, who split from ATMI three years ago in a dispute and last year co-founded AMTAC. “The textile industry has been under attack for many, many years and it was predictable what is happening today, that all of manufacturing would follow in our footsteps.”

He then added: “With employment in manufacturing rapidly declining, it’s not surprising that the economy is so weak and unemployment is going up except in government. The U.S. government needs to define a new, much-more rational trade policy that encourages its manufacturing base the opportunity to compete in our own market. The outsourcing of American manufacturing must stop if we are to preserve a strong middle class in the United States.”

Jim Chesnutt, president of AYSA and president and CEO of National Spinning Co., Washington, NC, expressed similar sentimens.

“Everyone in Washington is wringing their hands about the economy and it’s very easy to see that the problem is in Washington and we must simply have change in policy in Washington, beginning with trade policy and following that with tax policy,” said Chesnutt, whose company was forced to cut more jobs just last week. “It seems to me we’re headed in the wrong direction.”

Gant said that a working group has been formed to put together a tactical plan. He was also asked how these groups were able to put aside past differences long enough to come together as one.

“Out of necessity brings unity,” he said. “All of us have come to the conclusion that we need to stand together. We all agreed to meet and I’m excited about it. We’re going to build on this.”

Fighting back

June 23, 2003

Industry reps. sounding off

Editor’s note: Representatives of the beleaguered U.S. textile industry have not sat idly by and watched the continued demise of their livelihoods. In addition to coming together as a united industry (see article at right), several industry members over the past few weeks have stood up to fight back by publicly venting frustrations and voicing concerns to government officials, academicians or anyone who would listen. Some of those discourses have been rather interesting, to say the least, so we decided to share some of them with you in coming editions, beginning this week. We realize that the full context of some remarks is difficult to capture in written form, particularly to those of you who weren’t on hand for the entire sessions, but we hope we’re able to convey the gist of their meanings.

Part 1 of our “Executive Rants” series comes from the American Yarn Spinners Association’s annual marketing seminar, which took place May 20 at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, NC. Excerpts here come during a presentation by Jim Leonard, deputy assistant secretary of Textiles, Apparel and Consumer Goods within the U.S. Department of Commerce, and include some of his remarks, as well as those of attendees — primarily Jim Chesnutt, AYSA president and president and CEO of National Spinning Co., Washington, NC, who interjected commentary on several occasions during Leonard’s talk. In kicking off the seminar earlier in the morning, Chesnutt set the tone for the day by using the platform as his bully pulpit — giving an extemporaneous, passionate discourse calling on the government to take action to assist this industry.

Meanwhile, public remarks made by Jerry Rowland CEO and majority part owner of National Textiles, LLC, Winston-Salem, NC, at a separate event come near the end of this article.

As you prepare for the Fourth of July vacation, we hope this “juicy” summer reading engages and inspires you.

We pick up early in Leonard’s discussion ...

Leonard: We had a situation last year with Bangladesh, which is a major apparel supplier to the U.S. and always fills its quotas on cotton pants. Last year they filled it in July. In April or May, they said, “we’re going to fill up quota this year, we need some help.” And I said, “well, wait a minute, you know what the quota was.” And they gave 150 reasons why (those numbers shouldn’t be honored). And we told them no many times. A lot of people in the U.S. government told them no. Well, as it turns out, we ended up letting in some finite number of those pants that were already sitting on the dock, that had been bought by the importers and retailers of the world. And there was enough pressure brought on my office, saying “we have to do something here ... not to help Bangladesh, but to help the Sears, the Penneys, the Wal-Marts, the K-Marts.”

Chesnutt: Because their pockets are so deep when election time comes.

Leonard: I’m not going to argue with that. However, before we did this I got the support of trade associations that would be impacted by this. But we charged Bangladesh this year, for every pair of pants that came in over and above their quota, three pair for this year. There was a significant amount of pressure from non-Department of Commerce organizations in the government that said, “you can’t penalize them 3 to 1. They’re a poor country.” At the end of the day, the agencies that were against us and putting pressure on us backed off.

Chesnutt: My bet is they’ll put them on the dock again and with the coming of 2005, we will forgive the quota because of pressure from the retailers on all parts of government. And while we may think we’re going to get benefit from this quota run-out, it will be forgiven and given away again. That’s the way it happens in Washington.

Leonard: Again, I’m not at the level that makes that decision.

Chesnutt: Just prove it to us. Show us some honesty.

Leonard: Bangladesh has already been in. They’re going to fill their quota probably in July or August again this year. And they already have come to us saying, “you know we’re a poor country and we know we agreed to this last year, but we need this extra quota this year.” At this point, we’re still saying no.

Chesnutt: I believe you, Jim, but I don’t believe in my government. They’re going to lie to us again and they’ll end up giving it away again and not enforcing the laws on the books.

Leonard: Again, it’s my personal commitment, and if it doesn’t happen then you’ll have somebody else to yell at next year because we’re not going to cut it.

Chesnutt: Your integrity is untouchable, but not our government’s.

Leonard: In this room today, I am your government. I represent (Undersecretary of Commerce) Grant (Aldonas) ...

I’ll get to Vietnam at the end so I don’t have to bleed all the way through my presentation (laughter from audience) ...

I don’t see Secretary (Don) Evans a lot. He’s an incredibly busy individual. I was with him four times in the last two or three weeks because of that issue. ...

Chesnutt: If I made the promises he made on April 3 last year that didn’t get kept, I would stay busy, too.

Leonard: Just like I’m representing him and Grant today, he represents the president, so when these kinds of things happen, it’s not only him who feels it. There is someone who normally would be in this room who is not here today who would say, “Jim, because of your decision on Vietnam, (U.S. House Rep.) Richard Burr (R-NC) is going to lose and George Bush is going to lose.”

Chesnutt: It can’t come too quick.

Later, Leonard is speaking on the textile marker system being investigated when Chesnutt intervenes ...

Chesnutt: Liddy Dole saw this as a great opportunity to make some points when she was running for the Senate. If there is anyone in this room, especially those of us with gray hair, who think we will invest in our industry based on this technology that’s being developed ... that U.S. Customs will have enough people ... to make this work to help us, I’d like to sell you an empty building that I have in Lafayette, GA. I don’t think it’s the end (all). I think it was nothing but an opportunistic move on the part of a candidate for the Senate that convinced this industry that it needed to be done. Yes, I think it should be done, but it’s not much of an answer.

Leonard: It’s not the end, but it’s a niche situation. It’s a small thing that, if in fact it works — and I believe it will — and if in fact the textile industry chooses to use it, then it’s going to be helpful to them. Is it going to save anybody? No. Is it going to help? Yes. Can we get it done in a finite time frame? I think yes. I can tell you that Mrs. Dole is being very active in getting money appropriated for this.

Chesnutt: But is it true that we were promised the Customs agents and they still haven’t been gotten for us? Another broken promise.

On the subject of trade deals being worked on, Chesnutt again speaks up ...

Chesnutt: How many of these deals — Morocco, Australia or even Singapore that’s been signed — have to go through Congress, or will it be another piece of trickery, like (the) Vietnam (bilateral trade agreement)?

Leonard: These are all free-trade agreements that have to go through Congress. But the bilateral agreement that we signed with Vietnam is not a free trade agreement under the trade act ...

Chesnutt: That is fraud imposed on this industry and don’t y’all ever forget it. Don’t forget it. Take it home with you.

Leonard: I’m sure I don’t have a lot of time left.

Chesnutt: We’ll give you whatever time you want. We’ll stay ’til 5 o’clock if we have to.

Leonard: I’ll take whatever time you want.

Later, on that much-discussed Vietnam trade deal ...

Jim Leonard

The big complaint is that we ended up with an agreement that had very high quotas on cotton pants and knit shirts ... probably the largest quotas on those two categories of any country in the world. You’ve heard the number: For knit shirts, one for every adult in the U.S. and for knit pants one for every male in the U.S., which is a true statement. As it turns out, and I’m not trying to minimize the impact here, the quota on knit shirts and cotton pants represents either 5 percent or less of the imports from the world on those two categories. I think, Jim, that you were told by somebody in the U.S. government that this was a good deal for the textile industry. You didn’t hear that from me.

Chesnutt: It blew my mind. I asked him what he’d been smoking.

And later ...

Chesnutt: How did you all let the quotas get so high? I have friends in the cotton business who are trying to develop business in the Caribbean and you all gave them 14 million dozen knit shirts. Why did you do that? Why did you let it get so high? It’s treasonous!

During the Q&A session, Chesnutt again chimes in ...

Chesnutt: These people who have been educated in these Northeastern schools and have never been down to the Carolinas or the Rust Belt or other places where jobs are being lost, they just don’t understand what’s going on. I guess for the first time in my life, I can understand those people in Idaho and Montana who turn against their government. I had never understood that, but now I’m beginning to.

This administration specifically and the one just prior are on a collision course to destroy this country and the standard of living that we’ve been accustomed to. You can’t get anything done in Washington because there are too many Jim Leonards trying to fight that bureaucracy up there that you just can’t get across. And in our instance there are too many retailers, too many people in the military industrial complex and too many people in the financial industry who have too much rotten influence on what’s going on in Washington. It’s corrupting it.

And other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, did you enjoy the show?

Chesnutt still had some fight left later, though ...

Chesnutt: This is another instance that the administration can say, “look at the inflation rate, how we’re keeping it down.” But if you read in USA Today, it says today, “Deflation? Not in this household.” They give us all of these deflation numbers coming out of Washington, but if you dig deep, find me something you can buy other than clothes and maybe automobiles that you aren’t paying more for. This is just another way that the numbers coming out of Washington can make those elected officials look better ... and another way to make the retailers happy and to be sure that the coffers get filled at election time with more money for them to run so that when they retire they can keep the money and take it home with them ... and another way to keep the big, industrial financial complex happy that will be able to sell things, but not for the down-home, blue-collar people in this country who make stuff. Who they’re making happy is special interests, and this group ain’t no special interest. We don’t have any money.

Now, they gave 7 percent growth to Vietnam. Any of you who have 7 percent growth by your company on an annual basis in the last 10 years, I want you to stand up.

A few minutes later, Malloy Evans, president of Cheraw Yarn Mills, Cheraw, SC, rose ...

Evans: When Secretary Evans came down and toured our plants in the Carolinas, he said these words, and I quote: “This president is different. We can be trusted. We will do what is right by the textile industry. The relationship of the administration to the American public is one of trust.”

And that trust has been violated very badly. You hear the emotion of those of us in this room, and you know why. The administration needs to take that very seriously, because if the administration is stubbing its toe here in our little industry, then the administration is stubbing its toe in other areas on the basic fundamental of trust.

What hackles us is, we take that trust and we deal with the Chinese, who have no trustworthiness — they lie, steal and cheat — and we, the American public, are coming out on the short end of that. Secretary Evans does represent the president. Somebody has badly forgotten what was said. We need your help and we need it as quickly as possible.

Larry Kenyon, Murata Machinery USA, Inc., then held up his hand ...

Kenyon: Why don’t we trust our government to once in awhile get tough? There are people in other parts of the world who don’t recognize anything but toughness. That’s all we ask. Our people are losing their jobs and you guys are giving them away. Why do we let that happen?

Moments later, Chesnutt again spoke up ...

Chesnutt: I’ve had too much to say today and I think Malloy summed up today’s discussion very well. Promises were made, the vows were accepted and they have not been kept. And I don’t think there’s a single person in this room who has anger for Jim Leonard. I want you to go away knowing that I’m not angry with Jim Leonard, but I am very distrustful of this administration and the promises that have been made and have not been delivered.

And the hurt is coming faster than I ever dreamed that it could come. It’s happening at the fastest rate today than at any time I’ve ever seen. If we continue to have to wait and wait and wait, it will be too late.

My county’s broke, my city’s broke, my state’s broke, my company and its people are struggling, my health care costs are going up ... everything that I do is going up and all we do is wait. ... and we hope. And we’ve got a lot of people who are losing hope. And what we’re doing today is creating more of the haves and more of the have nots. The middle is going away, the middle that we’ve all prospered in. We need your help.

Leonard was then thanked for participating in the seminar ...

Leonard: I was on a conference phone call this morning and someone said, “Jim, where are you?” And I said, “I’m at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, but I’m not here for the race.” And he said, “I know, you’re probably down there getting one of those fireproof jackets like the race drivers.” I probably could’ve used one today.

Chesnutt: Yeah, And it probably would’ve been made in China.

ROWLAND ALONG

Jerry Rowland, CEO and majority part owner of National Textiles, LLC, Winston-Salem, NC, has been another textile industry representatives who has been proactive in the fight to protect U.S. textile interests.

Rowland has shown up to voice his concerns at numerous events where government officials have been present, and his remarks have been printed in a number of publications. One of his most poignant comments came in the form of a question to Grant Aldonas, undersecretary of Commerce, during the annual meeting of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI) in Coral Gables, FL, in March. His question concerns the China textile safeguard requested by ATMI last year.

Rowland:: You read every single week where another textile plant is closing. I know you mean well to help us, but, by god, we’re going to die before you do. I’d like to know what can we do, our group, to help? We don’t want to lose all 12 rounds. Every time we win one round we lose two. What can we do better to keep some of these things from happening? I mean, this China thing, we asked for seven months ago.

The reality of it is, when we win, if we indeed do win, it will be three or four months down the road ... it just goes back to the previous 12 months’ imports. And the damn Chinese are smarter than we are. They started on Jan. 1, 2002 with the maximum amount. By the time we react, hell, they can’t make any more in China because they’ve already got 100 percent of imports, so what do we do?

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