The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) and American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) sent a letter June 5 to U.S. President Donald J. Trump, opposing the proposed escalation in tariffs for all U.S. imports from Mexico. As the representatives of the apparel and textile supply chain, the organizations represent hundreds of thousands of American jobs dependent on duty-free trade in the North American region.
The full letter can be downloaded here.
Signed by the heads of both organizations, the letter states: “Raising tariffs on U.S. imports from Mexico will hurt U.S. workers. Currently, hundreds of thousands of American workers are deployed in production and other key value chains that depend on the North American trade partnership with Mexico, which is the market for half of all U.S. textile exports.”
“NCTO is joining with AAFA today in urging President Trump to refrain from imposing tariffs on U.S. imports from Mexico, an issue that is critically important to our integrated Western Hemisphere supply chains,” said NCTO president and CEO Kim Glas. “Mexico is the top export market for U.S. fiber, yarns, and fabrics and adding tariffs on Mexican imports of apparel and home furnishings will only hurt the U.S. textile industry’s growth and competitiveness and jeopardize jobs in both countries.”
“Further, these planned tariffs disrupt and distract congressional passage of the pending U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), a key administration priority, which not only strengthens the textile industry’s existing supply chain and our free trade partnership with Mexico, but also helps to expand it,” Glas added. “We urge the administration to support American workers by not imposing tariffs on U.S. imports from Mexico and helping get USMCA over the finish line.”
“AAFA and NCTO often have different ideas when it comes to trade policy; however, we are totally united in opposition to the proposal to add tariffs on our products,” said Rick Helfenbein, president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association. “Potential tariffs on Mexico are an unwelcome and unnecessary tax on American workers and consumers at a time when we should be focusing on the ratification of the USMCA. Mexico is the eighth largest supplier of apparel and seventh largest supplier of footwear to the U.S. market, with 35 percent of men’s and boy’s jeans and 15 percent of work boots coming from south of the border. This move threatens our trade relationship with Mexico and the competitive advantage that supports hundreds of thousands of American jobs in the apparel, footwear, travel goods, and textile industries. We do not believe that immigration policy and trade policy should be cut from the same cloth.”