The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) thanked the 52 members of Congress who voted “NO” on the Korea FTA. Two-thirds of the House Textile Caucus voted against the bill and were joined by eight other members with textile interests.
“The resounding ‘NO’ vote from representatives with textile workers in their districts is greatly appreciated by the textile industry and their workers. We want to particularly thank Congressmen Larry Kissell (D-NC) and Howard Coble (R-NC), the chairs of the House Textile Caucus, for leading this effort,” said Cass Johnson, NCTO president.
The textile industry opposed the Korea FTA because critical enforcement measures were removed, creating an easy gateway for low-priced Chinese goods to be illegally transshipped through Korea. The Korea FTA also phased out duties on many sensitive textile products that are important for U.S. producers and trading partners. The phase-out schedule provided Korean exporters with greater access to U.S. markets, without providing equal access into the Korean market. This included products that the textile industry supplies to the U.S. military.
Johnson noted that the U.S. textile industry has been growing jobs and exports, with four new plants opened in the last year and half, exports up 17 percent and nearly 4,000 new jobs added. “We want to ensure that free trade agreements actually support increasing exports and increasing textile jobs in this country. We will strongly support agreements that provide an equal playing field for the beneficiary country, but will strongly oppose those that don’t.”