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HAGAN, GRAHAM INTRODUCE BIPARTISAN BILL TO ENSURE U.S. TEXTILE WORKERS CAN COMPETE IN THE GLOBAL MARKETPLACE

Monday, August 9, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. - United States Senators Kay R. Hagan (D-NC) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) last week introduced a bipartisan bill, the Textile Enforcement and Security Act of 2010, to beef up enforcement of rules governing textile trade.

"This bill will help level the playing field for textile companies in North Carolina and across the country," Hagan said. "Without proper enforcement, our workers cannot compete in the global marketplace."

"This is an important bill to our textile industry which has been hard-hit over the years by unfair trade practices and competition from people who refuse to play by the rules," said Graham. "This legislation provides Customs with the resources they need to crack down on fraud. This legislation is another necessary step to ensure that our textile industry is able to compete on a level playing field."

For more than two decades, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency has designated trade in textiles as a "Priority Trade Issue" because of the high level of fraudulent activity involved with the import of textile and apparel products. However, despite this designation, the U.S. textile industry continues to see a significant increase in duty evasion from certain countries through undervaluation, mislabeling, and the use of phony companies posing as U.S. companies.

The Textile Enforcement and Security Act of 2010 includes provisions to:

· Establish an electronic verification program that tracks yarn and fabric inputs in countries operating under free trade agreements;
· Increase the number of import specialists trained in textile and apparel verifications at the 15 largest U.S. ports (by value) that process textile and apparel imports. Many textile and apparel trained specialists are currently assigned to low volume textile and apparel ports; and,
· Increase textile staff at the Customs and Border Protection Agency headquarters and retarget them toward trade preference verifications. Headquarters staff has been significantly reduced over the last five years.

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