US HFPA argues against tariffs on Chinese textile imports

Fibre2Fashion: The US Home Fashion Products Association (HFPA) has rebutted the argument for tariffs on Chinese textiles imports. The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) gave testimony to the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) in favour of such tariffs on May 17. The US Industrial Fabrics Institute (USIFI) and Narrow Fabrics Institute (NFI) also back the tariffs.

As the shift of home textiles manufacturing to Asia was highly disruptive, several companies did not survive the transition, HFPA noted in its argument against the proposal. Levying a tariff on Chinese imports would deal a hard blow to the roughly 500 US-based home textiles companies in the business, it felt.

“Increasing tariffs, whether on products from China or any other country, will lead to significantly higher prices, and inevitably, lower sales and fewer jobs in our industry. These proposed tariffs, if implemented, have the potential to put many of our companies out of business, and worse still, they will not help bring textile manufacturing back to this country,” the HFPA wrote.

The HFPA rebuttal came in a letter sent recently to New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, USTR, secretary of commerce Wilbur Ross, New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, the chairman of the Finance Committee and President Donald Trump.

At the recent USTR hearing, NCTO president and chief executive officer (CEO) Auggie Tantillo asserted that China’s domination of global textile markets has been aided by intellectual property theft.

“From the violation of patents on high performance fibers, yarns and fabrics to the infringement of copyrighted designs on textile home furnishings, China has gained pricing advantages through blatantly illegal activities. Putting 301 tariffs on Chinese textile and apparel exports would send a long overdue signal that these predatory actions will no longer be tolerated,” Tantillo had said.

In response, the HFPA noted that some US home textiles importers still operate substantial domestic ‘fill and finishing’ operations employing thousands of employees that would be financially hobbled by tariffs.

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