U.S. Textile Sector Applauds Biden Call for Onshoring Production

Updated: Oct 20, 2021

By Just Style

This article was published in Just Style October 14, 2021. We're sharing because it highlights the importance of onshoring to address a multitude of challenges, including climate change, the current supply chain crisis, American manufacturing jobs, and more. Kim Glas, President and CEO of the National Council of Textile Organizations commended President Biden's efforts to invest in U.S. manufacturing.

The U.S. must invest in onshoring textile production if there is any hope of resolving the global supply chain crisis, the president and CEO of the National Council of Textile Organisations, Kim Glas has said.

Glas, who leads the trade body representing the textile sector, supported U.S. President Joe Biden’s remarks yesterday (13 October) which called for onshoring as one of the steps that needed to be taken to resolve the supply chain crisis ahead of the holiday season.

In his speech, Biden acknowledged “how hard it is to get a range of things from a toaster to sneakers to a bicycle to bedroom furniture,” and concerns with whether holiday gifts would arrive on time.

As part of plans to speed up the delivery of goods across the U.S., he confirmed the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach – which import 40% of shipping containers into the country – would be open 24/7.

Traditionally they have only been open through the week.

“By staying open seven days a week, through the night and on the weekends, the Port of Los Angeles will open — over 60 extra hours a week it will be open. In total, that will almost double the number of hours that the port is open for business from earlier this year.”

He also called on retailers to support with hiring trucks and railcars to move the goods.

Walmart committed to moving products 24/7 from ports to its stores. It is committing as much as a 50% increase in the use of off-peak hours over the next several weeks.

“Strengthening our supply chains will continue to be my team’s focus,” Biden said. “If federal support is needed, I will direct all appropriate action. And if the private sector doesn’t step up, we’re going to call them out and ask them to act. Because our goal is not only to get through this immediate bottleneck but to address the longstanding weaknesses in our transportation supply chain that this pandemic has exposed.

“The world has changed. Prior to the crisis, we cheered… the focus on lean, efficient supply chains, leaving no buffer or margin for error when it comes to certain parts arriving just in time it’s needed to make a final product.

“We need to take a longer view, though, that invests in building greater resilience to withstand the kinds of shocks we’ve seen over and over, year in and year out, whether it’s the pandemic, extreme weather, climate change, cyberattacks, or other disruptions.

“In fact, research tells us that a company can expect to lose over 40% of one year’s earnings every 10 years due to supply-chain disruptions.

“A longer-term view means we invest in systems that have more time built-in and in our ability to produce, innovate, and partner with our allies.”

Commitment To Onshoring Textile Production

Biden also stressed the importance of investing in production in the U.S., proposing the Build Back Better Act, a bill aimed at transforming ports, highways and rail systems and bringing products faster and more efficiently from factories to customers.

“Never again should our country and our economy be unable to make critical products we need because we don’t have access to materials to make that product.

“Never again should we have to rely too heavily on one company or one country or one person in the world, particularly when countries don’t share our values when it comes to labour and environmental standards.

“We are America. We still have the most productive workers and the most innovative minds in the world. But the rest of the world is closing in, and we risk losing our edge if we don’t step up.

“In order to be globally competitive, we need to improve our capacity to make things here in America while also moving finished products across the country and around the world.

“The bottom line: We’ve seen the cost of inaction in the pandemic in the delays and the congestion that affect every American.

“But it’s fully within our capacity to act to make sure it never happens again — it’s going to take a little time — and that we unlock the full might and dynamism of our economy and our people.”

Commenting on the remarks, Glas said the NCTO appreciated Biden’s call for more resilient and reliable supply chains and to invest in manufacturing industries in the U.S..

“There is a reason we got into this mess and there is a reason we have a global supply chain crisis. Years of offshoring production in a race to the bottom – exacerbated by predatory trade practices that have undermined so many manufacturing industries -has led to a tipping point.

Cut Reliance on China

She pointed to China’s “virtually unlimited and unrealistic pricing power coupled with its subsidies and lack of enforceable environmental standards” stripping benefits and undermining policy objectives and leaving the U.S. in an untenable situation of overreliance on a foreign supply chain for critical products and raw materials.

“We must hold China accountable for predatory trade practices that have offshored our industries and our jobs. We must onshore and nearshore more textile and apparel production chains out of Asia to the U.S. and also to Western Hemisphere trade partners. This has a multitude of benefits to ensure more reliability in production and also has remarkable job benefits to U.S. manufacturers and our allied trading partners who adhere to higher labour and environmental standards. Further, it will help address the migration crisis and grow better-paying jobs.

“Now is the time we need to unlock long-term commitments to source product from the U.S.A. and from our Hemispheric partners. If we moved another 10% of global production to the U.S. and the Hemisphere, imagine the benefits that could be achieved. Ensuring further verticalisation and investment in all aspects of the industry, from raw materials to finished products, is good for the American economy and workers in the US and in the region.

“Our industry stands ready to help and provide the solutions to onshore and nearshore these production chains that benefit manufacturing workers, the U.S. economy, our Western Hemisphere allies, and consumers. Further, onshoring and nearshoring these critical production chains has remarkable benefits for the environment and addresses the growing, systemic and alarming issues associated with climate change.”

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