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National Council of Textile Organizations: An Interview with Auggie Tantillo

April 3, 2014

The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) has just concluded its 11th annual meeting in Washington, DC, USA. The US textile industry is on the rise and there is concern over implications of the ongoing Asia/Pacific and European trade agreements.  Internally, NCTO is still in the first year of the merger of three formerly independent textile organizations.


NCTO is a unique association representing the entire spectrum of the textile sector from fiber to finished textile product. Currently, the organization represents 150 companies, had a 2013 operating budget of $1.5 million, and maintains a staff of 6 full-time plus a full time industry consultant.  The mission of NCTO is to focus on creating powerful national and international alliances to advance the interests of the U.S. textile sector.


Auggie Tantillo has been NCTO president for 8 months. Mr. Tantillo is a well-known industry/ government textile veteran in Washington. Early in his career, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Textiles, Apparel and Consumer Goods and, prior to his appointment as NCTO president, he was the Executive Director of the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition (AMTAC). 


Steve Warner, publisher of BeaverLake6 Report, interviewed Mr. Tantillo for this report.




BeaverLake6 Report:  Can you tell us the state of the US textile industry?


Tantillo: The US textile industry has experienced fair stability and steady growth over the past few years. This important domestic manufacturing industry is the third largest exporter of textile products in the world. Exports of all textile products were nearly $17.9 billion in 2013.  Lately, we have seen numerous investments from foreign companies in yarn-spinning plants. A crucial aspect to the attractiveness of building in the US and creating jobs is the Yarn-Forward rule.


BL6: What is the status of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement negotiations? It was hoped the agreement would originally be finished by 2012, then 2013 and now it may not be concluded in 2014. Why so slow in getting this done?


Tantillo: Well, we are operating under the assumption it will be done sooner than later. But these types of agreements seem to have their own pace. As more countries become involved, there are more issues which need to be addressed. Vietnam’s inclusion created a concern for us with the Yarn Forward rule. The agreement, though, isn’t just about textiles.  Japan’s inclusion has created concerns regarding agricultural products, and these types of other non-textile issues are causing, in part, the slow pace of the negotiations. And, the wildcard for this whole agreement for the US is the Congressional Fast Track authority to pass it. We need it.


BL6: Will Yarn-Forward be included in the agreement, and, if so, will it be a strong rule similar to what we have seen in other US trade agreements?


Tantillo: That’s a good question. We have received every indication that the Yarn-Forward rule will be included in the agreement. We feel it is essential the rule remain strong and comprehensive in its product coverage with its only flexibility being the short supply list. We are pressing for a strong Yarn-Forward agreement similar to the NAFTA/CAFTA agreements. But there is a strong lobbying effort by US apparel importers and retailers to ease up on the requirements. It’s an intense fight right now.


BL6: TPP, from a textile point of view, seems to be only a concern for those supplying the apparel industry. How does the TTP impact the domestic technical textiles industry?


Tantillo: There are major players in the TPP that are significant producers of technical textiles, especially Japan. Vietnam is also becoming a significant exporter of technical textiles.


BL6: What is the status of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)? Comparing it to TPP, should the technical textiles industry be more concerned about this agreement?


Tantillo: The 4th round of TTIP negotiations was held in Brussels in March. The European Union is a huge market for industrial textile yarns and fabrics. This agreement will be beneficial from the standpoint of US producers being able to access the European marketplace.


BL6: Are the two agreements similar in scope?


Tantillo: There are some challenges and differences between TTIP and TPP that are a concern for the US textile industry. In TTIP, for example, the EU favors a complicated Fabric-Forward rule as opposed to a Yarn-Forward rule. The EU is also pressing for access to US military contracts which means a weakening of the Berry Amendment. We would resolutely oppose any changes in the Berry Amendment.


BL6: The Textiles Enforcement and Security Act (TESA) recently was re-introduced in Congress. Will it get passed or will it stall?


Tantillo: We are hopeful that it will pass. However, its success is likely tied to larger issues such as The Customs Reauthorization Act. If a bigger customs and trade package moves through Congress, it would give us a much greater probability of getting TESA language adopted.


BL6: What’s the status of the National Defense Authorization Act? Is there anything to be of concern or interest by the technical textiles industry?


Tantillo: It has been enacted and there are some notable textile provisions. Title 1, Section 141, requires budget justification display for personal protection equipment. Title1, Section 146, requires study on 1) procurement and 2) research and development of personal protection equipment plus recommendations on how to improve innovation and competition. And the last significant provision for technical textiles is Title III, Section 352, which revises policy on combat and camouflage uniforms. This policy would require all the services to wear the same camouflage and ACU’s down the road.


BL6: Has any analysis been done on the impact of the Korean-United States trade agreement (KORUS). There was a lot of concern before it passed in 2011.


Tantillo: There has not been an analysis done but there have been reports of companies who have been directly affected, especially in the area of industrial fabrics. There has been substantial growth on the part of Korean exports to the US market.


BL6: What are the priorities for NCTO in 2014?


Tantillo: We have to ensure the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement is concluded in a sustainable and fair manner allowing the US textile industry to continue to be a viable player in the global textile marketplace. We have to make sure the Berry Amendment remains intact in the TTIP negotiations.

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Click here to view the complete technical textiles events calendar that includes show information links.

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I've known Mr. Oehmig for probably more than 20 years and have watched his steady management progression within the Glen Raven organization. During the interview, he was very gracious with his time at a busy show and transparent in answering questions on a far-ranging number of topics including the management transition from Alan Gant, Jr., to Mr. Oehmig, the first non-Gant family member to lead Glen Raven. Click here to read the interview and learn more about the thoughts of one of our industry leaders.


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Versions of the NDAA were recently passed by both the Senate and House and a joint committee is working out a single bill. The submitted Senate version, however, left out proposed key amendments designed to prevent the weakening of domestic sourcing for the US military. One amendment included the prevention for lifting of the restrictions in place for domestic sourcing of wearable electronic products and another amendment prevents certain exceptions to the Berry Amendment which would allow non-domestic sourcing through memoranda of agreement with foreign governments.


What's the "strange bedfellows" aspect? Well, "Buy American" is also one of the key positions taken by the Trump administration. So, we have both the Democrats and the Trump administration on the same side, trying to keep strong the US domestic capability for supplying the military. Strange bedfellows given the current political animosity in Washington...but still the cooperation is vital for the US domestic textile industry. 


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The wool coat, however, has some powerful friends in the US Congress. Companies such as Northwest Woolen Mills in Woonsocket, R.I. and Sterlingware in Boston, Mass. Altogether, the supply chain involved in the manufacture of these woolen peacoats -- including sheep farmers -- is estimated to account for 400 jobs in the Northeast. Add to the drama that the new parka, made by the long-time military supplier Propper, is expected to be manufactured in Puerto Rico, a perceived feeling the new coat will be made by non-American workers. Read more...


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President Trump's Reveals 2017 Trade Policy Agenda

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has released President Trump's 2017 Trade Policy Agenda. The document, officially called 2017 Trade Policy Agenda and 2016 Annual Report of the President of the United States on the Trade Agreements Program, outlines the new Administration’s four trade priorities:

  • Defending the US National Sovereignty over Trade Policy
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  • Negotiating New and Better Trade Deals

​BeaverLake6 Report has created a special page within this website and placed the first chapter of the 336-page document which summarizes the policy. Click here to read it. Posted March 2, 2017

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Back on March 24, 2016, I was one of the first to predict the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement was a dead deal. In fact, I said that I wouldn’t be surprised that, if Donald Trump became President, the agreement is shredded on day one of his new administration. Well, I was off by three days. Yesterday, President Trump signed an Executive Order, officially withdrawing the United States from the TPP agreement. Now the question is can the National Council of Textile Organizations put together a comprehensive plan for the domestic textile industry in a post-TPP era? Click here to read the rest. Posted January 25, 2017

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In My Opinion

Re-Shoring: Good for the Goose is Not Good for the Gander?

Domestic PFD Manufacturer's Application for FTZ Additional Production Authority Riles Textile Industry Trade Associations. There is a nasty fight taking place these past few months behind the closed doors of Room 48019 at the Herbert C. Hoover Building in Washington, D.C. The room is the office of the Foreign-Trade Zones Board. The fight pits domestic technical textile industry suppliers and a coalition of textile-trade associations against a fairly large domestic end-product cut-and-sew manufacturer. Click here to read the story.


Steve Warner


Media Partners

In My Opinion

In 2015, I posted more than 425 items of interest for our industry on the BeaverLake6 Report website. In reviewing it all last week, it got me to thinking about putting together a list of influential events, news and trends that I observed during the past year. I have focused primarily on the US marketplace but each of “the things that mattered” to me has global implications.


So, here go my thoughts in no particular order of importance. Let me know if you agree or if I have missed some. Click here to read the list.


Steve Warner


Posted January 17, 2016

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