NCTO

New trade group heads to first annual meeting

Week of July 19, 2004

Editor’s note: Following is a Q&A with Allen Gant Jr., chairman of the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) and president and CEO of Glen Raven Inc., Glen Raven, NC. NCTO, formed earlier this year with the merger of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI) and the American Yarn Spinners Association (AYSA), holds its first annual meeting July 19-21 in Washington, DC. Gant’s answers come in response to questions posed to him in documented form by Devin Steele, STN editor.

STN: It’s been said that the idea for a group such as the NCTO was hatched about a year ago, when several textile and related trade organizations came together to find common ground on the issue of China safeguards. Briefly, how did this idea transition into more serious merger discussions? Why did the merger of two esteemed textile trade groups make sense?

Gant: NCTO is the result of the leadership of some 25 to 30 textile executives who recognized the validity and strength of coming together to find common ground.

The coalition that was established a year and a half ago to move on the China safeguards demonstrated to these leaders that if the industry would once and for all consolidate and find a way for every element to have a seat at the table and to have full representation on the board, then we could achieve the clout needed in Washington in order to have an influence on our future.

Diligent work has taken place — not for the merger of organizations, but for individuals representing companies coming together to find a common ground. Not only did this prove to be successful, but it also proved to be the most efficient and effective way to have an organization and to streamline it and design it to accomplish those things that the board wanted accomplished. As a result, NCTO has already moved with Congress and the administration in an aggressive way to exert further leadership for our industry. Today, it is thought of on a global basis as the trade organization that represents the textile industry of the United States of America.

STN: You have the distinction of serving as the first chairman of the new group. Did you throw your hat into the ring or was your name “volunteered?”

Gant: Concerning my chairmanship, shall we say that I was volunteered. Each member of the board had specific duties and things to be done and worked diligently to accomplish them. Mine was to breathe life into the new organization.

STN: The industry, of course, continues to endure its most dramatic restructuring in almost a century. Please elaborate on your being called to lead this top national trade organization during these challenging times.

Gant: This is a simple issue of leadership. There comes a time when people have to step forward and assume the mantle of leadership for the betterment of the industry. We learned during the forming of our coalition that it was time for the industry to come together, put aside our differences, and make a difference. It was either that or die on the vine, and die quickly. It’s amazing that necessity is the mother of invention.

STN: Were there issues and past differences that AYSA and ATMI members had to put aside before the merger would become possible?

Gant: Certainly, over the many years, two great organizations like AYSA and ATMI had developed prejudice as a result of the narrow focus of each of the organizations. I have nothing but positive things to say about the membership of both organizations who put aside any single-mindedness to come together, under one roof, with the suppliers of raw materials and supporters of the industry to make an even stronger organization for the future.

STN: How is the marriage working so far during this, the “honeymoon” period?

Gant: There is so much work to be done, that the honeymoon period was over months ago, and real progress is being made. Not only has NCTO positioned itself for leadership going forward, but also it is demonstrating to its members the worth of the investment of time. The Istanbul Declaration, many trade legislations that have come up and the outright coordination of the industry allowing better communication with our government officials have proved worthwhile.

STN: As many other companies and associations, NCTO is working “lean and mean,” with small staffs in DC and North Carolina. How is this structure working so far and does having such a small full-time staff create a larger need for industry participation?

Gant: We believe that the current NCTO structure will provide the best of all worlds. There is a small, hard-hitting staff in Washington, DC that spends its time exclusively on the Hill dealing with government and the administration. This task force works on every issue that comes up that has an impact on the textile industry.

The support for all of this is done in Gastonia, NC, where a dedicated team of very bright people coordinate all of the support facilities — not only managing the business of NCTO, but also managing the business of several other trade organizations. It is a very integral part of our workings. This should allow us the best of both worlds, and yes, I would encourage any person or organization that is involved in the textile industry to be a member of NCTO. It is the organization that will be working for the betterment of the entire industry throughout the entire chain of distribution and doing it the most efficient and effective way.

STN: How are your membership numbers shaping up heading into your first annual meeting? Can you provide a breakdown in terms of numbers of members per council?

Gant: All four councils are being very well represented. The Fabric Formation and Home Furnishings Division, the Yarn Council, the Fiber Council and the Support Council all have active members for a total of 54 members so far. They are active in participating not only in council meetings, but also in the combined council meetings that are taking place.

STN: What’s your sales pitch for prospective members?

Gant: Being a member of NCTO is a simple, straightforward situation. It you participate in the industry, then you need to have influence with our government on how the rules of the game are going to be established. It’s just that simple — if you are not at the table, then you have no ability to influence those rules.

This world is changing so quickly that it is virtually impossible to keep up with every single aspect of what is happening, and it requires the dedication and hard work of professional people who understand the workings of government in order to achieve the best results. The very future of this industry may lie in the ability of NCTO to be successful going forward.

And, although it’s important for every individual company to control its own destiny in today’s world of competitive disadvantages, it’s important to have every element of help possible.

STN: On a related note, how is the NCTO adding value to its members?

Gant: The incredible work that has taken place on the Istanbul Declaration, alone, has added immense value to its members. As you are aware, there are many trade legislations being proposed by the administration, and each one of them will require delicate work. In addition, safeguards are being filed on a regular basis, which is, in fact, having influence on the world trade today. I would say there is immense value to the members of NCTO today.

STN: What are your goals the group in its first year of existence?

Gant: Our first year in existence is certainly to get up and running to become efficient, effective, financially strong, but most important, begin the process of developing influence in Washington, DC, to help our industry. We do not have time to waste. Time is of the essence, and we must be successful in this charge immediately.

STN: Has the merger seemed to get the attention of the movers and shakers in Washington and elsewhere?

Gant: There is no question that Capitol Hill now regards NCTO as the organization that is speaking for the industry. Its leadership position is being felt not only in Washington, but also throughout the globe, and I’m very proud of the staff and of the progress they have made.

STN: NCTO led the way in getting the Istanbul Declaration signed by 81 trade associations and 51 countries so far. This push to urge the WTO to postpone the elimination of worldwide textile and apparel quotas at the end of this year has been criticized, of course, by certain U.S. interests who have said, in effect, that the industry has had 10 years to prepare for Jan. 1, 2005, and that charges that China will dominate the world textile trade are overblown. How do you respond to this vitriol?

Gant: Having just returned from a trip to Brussels for a meeting of the 51 countries represented by trade organizations, the Istanbul Declaration is boiling down to this: These organizations from around the world are asking the WTO to stop for a moment and examine the process that is about to take place and either continue down that path of quota elimination or have the strength and courage to step back, analyze and make some adjustments where needed so that devastation to the industry around the world will not take place.

This is a moment of world leadership that is needed, and anyone who does not think that a process cannot be improved certainly has lost the game. The Istanbul Declaration, in its form today, is not calling for the continuation of quotas, but, instead, is asking the WTO to analyze the process that will start on January 1, 2005, and determine if it is the best course of action, and if it is not, to make some corrective changes so that disruption will not take place.

All of us support this move and believe that it will be healthy and straightforward for the global industry.

STN: The movement has gained steam in recent weeks, particularly during the recent Summit on Fair Trade in Textiles and Clothing in Brussels. Can the success of the summit be measured?

Gant: I believe the summit in Brussels was immensely successful. Not only did four other countries join, bringing the total to 51, but also several governments agreed to actually ask the WTO for an emergency meeting. This is extremely important and will play a vital role in the process of making the trading system which is used between nations on textiles a better system.

Certainly, one could say that the awareness of what is about to happen has certainly been raised, and it is very interesting to see the outburst of concern by developing nations, instead of its being led by the developed nations.

It is so very important for the economic development on a global basis to have these developing nations continue their progress and to be assuming leadership positions as this global economy becomes reality.

STN: Realistically, what are the odds of the WTO granting a quota phaseout extension, particularly since the U.S. government continues to reject such industry demands?

Gant: We have no way of knowing what the WTO will do, but I do believe that it will certainly examine what is going to happen and provide a forum for some very constructive thinking to take place that could have a lasting impact on this industry around the world.

STN: Obviously, this appears to be a “Custer’s-last-stand” issue for the domestic textile industry. If such a request isn’t granted, what is NCTO’s fallback plan to ensure future industry viability?

Gant: NCTO is already formulating a more effective use of safeguards and other mechanisms that are already in place that will help this industry as we move forward, should there become disruptive trade practices that are not fair and equal for those members of the industry.

I think it should be noted that the NCTO members are very much in favor of free and open trade with the rest of the world. In fact, the vast majority of the members of NCTO enjoy an international business that is successful and growing. But, I do believe that every member of NCTO wants to be treated fairly and are asking not only this administration, but other global leaders to come together in a way that would set the rules of the game to be played in a fair and equitable way.

It is not right for any country to have a monopolistic position in any industry, nor play by rules that are unfair. It is for this reason that NCTO is being so aggressive in trying to exert its leadership on Congress, the administration and other global leaders to bring about a process that will analyze where this industry is and make the appropriate changes that are needed. This world is changing so fast that we must have a system that is flexible, nimble and is responsive to the marketplace.

The consumer ultimately decides what products will be bought and what value will be allowed in the chain of distribution. It’s important that we have an industry that is capable to responding to these demands in the marketplace.

STN: Besides that “biggie,” what other agenda items is NCTO working on?

Gant: Trade is certainly the hottest topic for NCTO at the present time, but there are also legislative issues that are coming up concerning regulations and regulatory issues that affect our industry. Each of these will be considered, prioritized and worked on as we move forward.

STN: Your first annual meeting will be all business, spent mostly on organizational and election-year lobbying matters. Please give us a rundown of your scheduled and explain the group’s goals for this get-together.

Gant: Our first annual meeting in Washington, DC will be a no-frills, business approach to what NCTO is all about. We are in a competitive business with a great future, as long as we pay attention to details and do what needs to be done.

It will be exciting to see the industry come together — the Support Council, the Fiber Council, the Yarn Council and the Fabrication and Home Furnishings Council — for the first time, each of them having a seat at the table and board representation in order to contribute to the platform that NCTO will adopt.

The crescendo of the first meeting will be a luncheon held in the Capitol for Congress and the administration, and, not just NCTO members, but members from the entire coalition are being invited. It is a time for the entire industry to come together and to speak with one voice. It is a time for us to exert immense leadership and to look at the positive things that can be worked on to help our industry become even better.

Needless to say, we are excited, we are rejuvenated and we are dedicated to being successful. This is an exciting time to be in business.


TYAA

White helps TYAA remain viable to membership

July 19, 2004

Editor’s note: Following is a Q&A with Richard D. White, senior development engineer of new products for Milliken Textured Yarns, Williamston, SC. White is president of the Textured Yarn Association of America (TYAA), which holds its Summer Conference July 29-31 at Myrtle Beach, SC. His answers were in response to questions posed to him in documented form by Devin Steele, STN editor.

Richard White, president of the Textured Yarn Association of America (TYAA), leads the group during its Summer Conference July 29-31 at Myrtle Beach, SC. White, senior development engineer of new products for Milliken Textured Yarns, Williamston, SC, talks about the group’s successes.
Photo by Devin Steele

STN: What were your goals for TYAA when you became president and how did you meet them?

White: Our goals for the TYAA continue to be to remain a viable asset to the industry. We hopefully accomplished this through our Winter and Summer Conferences, which provide exposure to technical and worldwide industry status presentations.

STN: Please give us a rundown of TYAA’s accomplishments in 2003-2004?

White: Our Summer and Winter Conferences were once again very successful. We continue to be able to attract relevant speakers on the technical and industry side.

Our technical committees continue to be well supported by our members and our Website continues to improve as an asset to the industry.

STN: Why is serving in a leadership role such as this important to you?

White: I appreciate the opportunity I have had to serve the TYAA for the last seven years as a board member and officer and hope to continue to contribute in the future. I enjoy being able to use whatever expertise I may have to further the goals of the association and the industry.

STN: How did TYAA members benefit this year?

White: Once again, through the Winter and Summer Conferences, our one-day seminar, technical committees, networking opportunities, etc.

In addition, we continue to improve our Website for the benefit of our members and the industry.

STN: What were some of the highlights of this year’s Winter Conference and how was attendance?

White: Our Winter Conference this year was focused on domestic and worldwide trade issues. We had three great speakers — Jane Johnson of Unifi, Steve Dobbins of Carolina Mills and Jim Chesnutt of National Spinning Co. Our attendance continues to be holding positive.

STN: Can you offer updates on projects taken up by certain committees?

White: Our Website and Membership Committees are ongoing and continue to improve our Website and attract new members. In addition we have a committee updating our bylaws and are in the process of evaluating the need for new committees in the areas of waste management and entanglement testing.

STN: What else exciting is going on within the organization?

White: The TYAA was founded mainly as an organization focused on the technical issues of texturing (mainly false twist). Probably the most exciting change taking place in the TYAA are our efforts to remain a technically oriented organization while at the same time supplying our membership with relevant information on the industry status as related to trade legislation and the changing world market.

Our goal is to provide those services which are of the greatest importance to our members.

STN: What are current conditions on the textured yarn side and the climate for future prospects?

White: Being on the technical side of the business, I’m probably not the best person to answer this question. But it appears to me, based on conversations with people in the industry, that conditions so far in 2004 are better than initial expectations with projections optimistic through year end.

Forecasting into 2005 is difficult, with the main concern being the removal of quotas on apparel imports and their impact on the domestic industry. Based on the diverse product offering of our industry, I’m personally optimistic about the future and the new opportunities awaiting us.

STN: What are some of the trends you see developing on your side of the industry?

White: Mainly the increasing volume of microdenier products being textured in both polyester and nylon and the continuing reduction in the average denier for the industry.

STN: How long have you been a member of TYAA and how has your association with the group helped you grow professionally?

White: I’ve been a member for 10 years. The opportunity to network with other members of the industry technically is a tremendous asset. Also my understanding of the industry, both domestic and worldwide, as a whole has been greatly improved as a result of information from the presentations at the winter and summer conferences.

STN: How have you juggled responsibilities between your full-time job and your position with TYAA?

White: Milliken and Co. has been very supportive of my involvement in the TYAA, especially in making my time available for my TYAA responsibilities.

STN: Please describe the working relationship you have with your officers and board and the TYAA staff?

White: We have a wonderful group of board members and officers who continue to do a great job of leading our organization in a positive direction. We also continue to have considerable participation from past officers with invaluable insight and experience as related to industry needs. Kim Pettit, our managing director, is a tremendous asset in actually making all of our plans happen.

STN: How many people do you expect at this year’s Summer Conference? Is that about the same as last year, above or below?

White: About the same as last year based on registration to date — 230 or more.

STN: Who are some of the speaker’s scheduled for this year’s conference?

White: Speaker include Dr. Blanton Godfrey, dean of the College of Textiles at NC State University, who will speak on the “New World of Textiles;” Knox Winget of American & Efird, who will address “Global Textured Thread Opportunities;” Andreas Weber of Heberlein, who will talk on “Important components for DTY Production;” Jane Johnson of Unifi, Inc.; and Cass Johnson, president of the National Council of Textile Organizations.

On the technical side, we have Dr. Collin Atkinson and Ralf Ertl of Temco, who will cover “Temcooler;” Joe Plasky of SuJo, Inc., who will address “A Partial Analysis of the Force Systems on a Winding Threadline;” and Ulrik Frodermann of Barmag/Saurer, who will go over the “Latest Development in Spinning and Texturing Technology.”


NYLSTAR:

Innovative specialty products, solid game plan spell optimism

July 19, 2004

GREENSBORO, NC — Optimists are in short supply in the textile and apparel industry these days.

Yet some industry leaders have a positive outlook for the future.

One of them is B.B. “Sonny” Walker, president of Nylstar, Inc., the Greensboro-based nylon producer that is bucking the bad news trend. Nylstar’s business in 2003 was very strong and 2004, year-to-date, looks solid as well, according to Walker.

“Our business has made good progress over the past two years,” said Walker, a 30-year textile industry veteran. “We continue to grow in all markets — circular knits, warp knits, weaving and hosiery — and we’re optimistic about the future. Given the uncertainty in the textile marketplace lately, we’re very grateful for the solid position in which we find ourselves.”

Nylstar’s good fortune hasn’t been serendipitous. It’s the result of a well-crafted plan that Walker and his management team have successfully implemented.

When Walker came to Nylstar two years ago, he believed long-term success for his business was predicated on generating a continuous stream of innovative specialty yarns. The company was up to the challenge.

Today what he calls “mainstream” specialty products, marketed under the Meryl® brand, make up half the company’s production at its state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Martinsville, VA. The plant, which is operating at 100 percent capacity, features some of the best equipment available for producing light denier nylon, which gives Nylstar a cost advantage over competitors with older equipment, Walker said. The plant can produce up to 30 thousand tons of nylon annually.

Meryl® yarns are among the most versatile in the textile marketplace. The full dull microfiber Meryl yarns are distinguished by their soft hand and matte finish. This unique dull finish, which gives fabrics a more natural look, is due to Nylstar’s propriety ingredient and manufacturing technology.

One recent product introduction is Meryl® Skinlife, an innovative new nylon odor-control fiber. Skinlife inhibits bacteria growth in fabric and maintains the body’s natural balance of bacteria on the skin, making it attractive for hosiery, socks and activewear. The bacteriostatic qualities are inherent in the Skinlife fiber, so that its odor control agent will never migrate to the skin or wash out.

Micro-denier fibers are another important element of the Nylstar product portfolio. Walker calls them the “best on the market.” Their soft hand and rich, deep-dye look and helping them gain share in outerwear and innerwear.

Producing fibers for U.S. military applications has been another area of focus for Nylstar. The military favors domestically produced yarns and the company’s high-quality yarns are well suited for the demands of this business.

Customer partnerships

New, high quality products are only one part of the equation, however. Partnering with the right customers is also critical.

“We want customers who think differently about their businesses and understand that winning means diversifying their product lines and finding sustanable niche businesses, away from mainstream commodity grade apparel, in which to play,” Walker said. “Those are the companies that will succeed in the future and we can help them.”

An all-star cast enables Nylstar to stay on top of meeting customer needs, he added. Walker’s management philosophy is to surround himself with highly competent people and give them the freedom to do the job they way they know how.

He relies heavily on Jim Sells, vice president of manufacturing; Rodney Sims, who oversees circular knits and hosiery; Bob Getto, responsible for warp knits and wovens; Dina Dunn, who leads the marketing effort; and Nicole Tricot, planning and customer service. Backing them up is a work force of 250 people at the Martinsville site.

The Nylstar business has also benefited from capacity reductions at some major fiber producers. The more they reduce capacity, the greater the opportunities for Nylstar.

On the flip side, the unprecedented rise in raw material costs is presenting a significant challenge. The Nylstar team understands the competitive pressures faced by their customers, so flexibility and responsibility are important elements in dealing with pricing matters, Walker said.

“We deal with price issues on a yarn count-by-yarn count basis. The flexible approach is much better for us than arbitrary, across-the-board increases,” he said.

Future challenges

As pleased as he is with his business’s performance, Walker conceded that the future will be rife with challenges.

“The commodity apparel business will continue to move offshore, led by retailers such as Wal-Mart,” he said. “It’s important that we, the U.S. manufacturers, look for opportunities in that commodity supply chain, but don’t rely on it solely for our existence. If we’re going to prosper, we’ve got to diversify our product lines and offer items that can’t be found in Asia.”

Additionally, he said he understands the textile industry cannot count on the U.S. government for its survival.

“Our political leaders have shown that protecting the U.S. textile industry is not a priority for them,” Walker said. “The only path to survival for the U.S. industry is through product innovation, niche marketing and delivering superior quality and value.”

Committed to N.A.

Despite the challenges ahead, Nylstar remains committed to the North American marketplace, Walker added. Its U.S. operations have the full backing of its European-based corporate officers. The company, created 10 years ago when Rhodia and Snia merged their fiber manufacturing operations, is headquartered in Cesano Moderno, Italy.

Ever the optimist, Walker said he even sees a good side to the flow of imported apparel into U.S. markets. The new reality is forcing more and more textile companies to take innovative approaches to niche markets where entry barriers to foreign imports are high. It’s precisely those companies with which Nylstar wants to partner.

“Helping innovative companies prosper so we can prosper drives everything we do,” Walker said. “Our future is tied to their success and we’re very optimistic that the future will be bright for them and Nylstar.”


FIBER NOTES

July 19, 2004

Unifi offers alternative to natural slub yarn

GREENSBORO, NC — Not only are consumers continually pressured for time, this year’s trends indicate they are also no longer settling for “just the look.” Consumers are reading labels and making purchasing decisions based on new fabric technologies with the expectation that they will outlast and out-perform.

According to a recent study by the International Institute on Social Change, 81 percent of consumers named comfort as the top criteria consideration when making purchasing decisions; 64 percent named easy care and long-lasting fabrics the next best on their checklist.

Unifi, Inc. said it offers a unique product that mimics the appearance of a natural slub yarn, like silk, linen or cotton, but has the added performance attributes associated with synthetics. Textra is ideal for home furnishings, including top-of bed, sheers, drapes and upholstered furniture, the company said.

“We are the only synthetic filament slub supplier in the hemisphere; staying abreast of market trends and providing products that meets seasonal demands is essential for our day-to-day business,” said Ron Mangrum, business unit director of dyed and airjet textured products, Unifi. “Textra is an economic alternative to linen or cotton, yet it mimics the appealing irregularities found in natural fibers. Textra’s added benefits include washability, durability and colorfastness.”

INVISTA introduces POY filament, microfiber

CHARLOTTE, NC — Manufacturers of contract upholstery and panel textiles, and fabric designers of contract furniture manufacturers can create attractive and durable fabric constructions with the aesthetics of natural fibers and made of two new polyester filament fibers from INVISTA.

Introduced to the contract market at the NEOCON World’s Trade Fair last month, INVISTA debuted Dacron® Vibrance solution dye POY (partially oriented yarn) polyester filament and Micromattique™ microfiber — a super micro denier polyester filament.

Targeted for non-printed pattern fabric constructions, Dacron® Vibrance solution dye POY polyester fiber features superior colorfastness, exceptional durability and cleanability, INVISTA said.

Made by Americas Filament, manufacturer of DACRON® polyester fiber and Micromattique™ microfiber and a business unit of INVISTA, DACRON® Vibrance is available in bright, semi-dull and dull lusters in a variety of denier and filament counts.

Introduced to the residential upholstery market, Micromattique™ is a super microdenier fiber, .37 dpf and 50 percent finer than silk that imparts a naturally soft look and luxurious feel to textiles, the company said.

Honeywell Nylon to increase prices

CHARLOTTE, NC — Honeywell announced a price increase of 5 cents per pound over the current price of all nylon textile products from Honeywell Nylon LLC, effective August 1.

The company said it is also increasing the price of its carpet fiber products, specialty polymers and certain chemical intermediates.


Editorial

July 19, 2004

‘Protectionists’ preparing to pack a punch

“PUTTING OFF the inevitable.” “Prolonging the agony.” “Pining for the past.”

The U.S. textile industry and its lobbyists have been pelted with these and other pithy pokes (not necessarily starting with the letter “P”) in recent years, particularly lately as the so-called “Istanbul Declaration” has progressed and, consequently, been promulgated by the worldwide media.

In addition, a favorite label tossed about by “globalists,” of course, is the preeminent “P” word — protectionist. The word has been used so much, it’s lost much of its punch. In fact, it’s become something of a term of endearment to many U.S. textile producers — if, by “protectionist,” critics mean someone who believes in two-way, equitable global trade between countries, but is willing to protect his turf if it is not. (We all know that “protectionist,” in its truest sense, more accurately describes the Chinese than U.S. textile manufacturers. You can believe China is protecting its turf against anything that even smells like an American-made textile product. But we digress.) Throw in “pipe-dreamer,” “provincialist” and “pinhead” and you’ve got the whole set of “P” pejoratives.

Which should leave industry members perturbed.

THE TARGET of many of those catcalls will gather this week in Washington, but not necessarily to devise rebuttals to their antagonists. Members of the newly formed National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) are headed inside the Beltway to develop a plan for keeping their business in business. During the first annual meeting of the group, created through the merger of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI) and the American Yarn Spinners Association (AYSA), members plan to spend their time handling organizational details and rolling out their election-year lobbying and grassroots campaign. Representatives of these former groups who now pay dues to NCTO have put aside past differences and found common ground in order to make themselves more effective, viable and resonant.

And, no doubt, they will be updated on the status of the aforementioned “Istanbul Declaration” by Chairman Allen Gant Jr. of Glen Raven, Inc., who attended the Summit on Fair Trade in Textile and Clothing in Brussels last month. The agreement, signed so far by 81 trade associations and 51 countries, calls for an emergency meeting of the World Trade Organization to analyze and identify solutions to the pending crisis associated with the expiration of textile and apparel quotas on Jan. 1, 2005. The council, along with trade groups around the world, have identified quota removal as the biggest threat to their livelihoods for the near term.

The NCTO and their U.S. textile industry brethren have been called a few names as result of their efforts on this matter. But what’s new?

A FEW YEARS ago — way back in the latter part of the 20th century — former industry economic analyst Kay Norwood used to show a photo during presentations to textile groups. She used the “tip-of-the-iceberg” slide to show that the downturn of the industry then was nothing compared to what would occur in 2005. The industry has been warned for years that quota removal was coming, and many have tried to prepare for its arrival. But even those companies that planned for that event have done so in a tumultuous climate, with unfavorable trade deals being signed by the U.S. at a seemingly breakneck pace. With so many textile imports — some legal, some illegal — arriving as a result even before 2005, who could adequately prepare for “NQ (No Quota) Day?”

With that date less than six months away, it’s gut-check time for this industry. And that’s why the NCTO and others are asking the WTO to at least stop and assess the process and “either continue down that path of quota elimination or have the strength and courage to step back, analyze and make some adjustments where needed so that devastation to the industry around the world will not take place,” Gant told STN.

This proposal has brought out the industry’s share of boo birds of late. Most of whom have popped up to pooh-pooh the idea.

Pity.

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