Mar 27 2015

Sens. Graham, Brown Introduce Bill to Boost American Textile Manufacturing Jobs By Cracking Down on Illegal Imports

Contact: Kevin Bishop (864) 250-1417 or Lorcan Connick (202) 224-5972

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) this week introduced bipartisan legislation to boost jobs in American textile manufacturing by cracking down on illegal imports and other forms of textile import fraud. The Textile Enforcement and Security Act would strengthen trade enforcement on textile and apparel imports and give Customs and Border Protection (CBP) new tools to crack down on fraudulent textiles.

“This common sense bill will add significant protections for textile workers by strengthening existing customs enforcement mechanisms and creating new tools to combat fraud,” said Graham. “We owe it to the hard working men and women of the textile industry to protect their product against those who seek to take advantage of lax enforcement. This bill does exactly that, and I look forward to seeing its provisions become law.”

“We can rebuild our nation’s textile and apparel industry and create jobs by making sure foreign competitors are playing by the same rules,” said Brown. “The textiles industry has the potential to create jobs and boost America’s manufacturing sector. But in order for this industry to remain competitive, we must crack down on customs fraud by putting more trained specialist at our ports. This bill would not only punish those who cheat our trade agreements, it would also provide a boost to small manufacturers and businesses in Ohio and across the country who produce high-quality apparel.”

“As a U.S. textile manufacturer employing over 5,000 workers at facilities in 8 states, Parkdale Mills strongly supports the additional resources and tools provided to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) by the Textile Enforcement and Security Act (TESA). When all companies in our free trade regions are held to the same standard, workers at Parkdale can compete with anyone in the world. However, when others cheat the system and break established trade rules, they gain an unfair advantage that severely hurts U.S. investment, production, and exports,” said Anderson Warlick, President and CEO of Parkdale Mills. “CBP must be equipped to identify and stop bad actors who seek to circumvent the rules that underpin our free trade agreements. TESA ensures that CBP has qualified and well-trained specialists, and the 21st century tools necessary to ensure that U.S. trade agreements work for U.S. workers and companies. Parkdale Mills commends Senators Lindsey Graham and Sherrod Brown for their leadership in reintroducing TESA in the Senate, and urges others in Congress to support this important measure that tackles customs fraud and abuse and supports U.S. manufacturing.”

The Textile Enforcement and Security Act would strengthen trade enforcement of textile and apparel imports by:

• Requiring seizure of textile and apparel imports if the product’s country of origin is not verified or is falsified;

• Requiring CBP to use the fines collected from textile and apparel import violations to pay for training of specialists in textile and apparel enforcement;

• Requiring specific staffing levels at the Textile Enforcement Branch;

• Requiring CBP to certify that a certain number of import specialists at the 15 largest US ports are trained to prevent textile and apparel import fraud;

• Requiring the Treasury to publish in the Federal Register the names of persons outside the United States who have violated textile and apparel custom laws; and

• Requiring CBP and the Department of Commerce to establish an electronic verification system for tracking textile and apparel imports under Free Trade Agreements (FTA).