of US Textile Industry
the U.S. textile industry has been forced to close more than 250
textile plants in the United States, including more than 50 textile
plants during the last year and a half. Over 200,000 U.S. textile
workers have lost their jobs, including more than 30,000 since January
2002. Five of this country’s largest most modern textile mills
- Pillowtex, Burlington Industries, CMI Industries, Galey &
Lord, and Malden Mills - have filed for bankruptcy.
The losses in the textile
industry reflect strains and pressures felt by the entire U.S. manufacturing
sector. Over the past two years, over two million manufacturing
jobs in the United States have been lost, many of them because U.S.
companies cannot compete against as much as a 40 percent price advantage
that countries such as China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan have gained
as a result of currency manipulation.
Despite these losses,
the U.S. textile sector remains one of the largest manufacturing
employers in the United States and the entire textile complex, including
apparel, machinery, chemicals, cotton and man-made fiber sectors,
employs nearly one million U.S. workers.
The crisis in the U.S.
textile industry entered its third year in 2003 as imports from
China and Vietnam in non-quota controlled categories jumped by hundreds
of percents while U.S. textile employment and shipments continued
to slump. In March 2003, U.S. textile jobs losses jumped back up
to 2001 levels as the industry shed 6,000 jobs and 4th quarter 2002
financial results revealed that the industry had again dipped into
the red, losing almost $200 million.
The overall textile crisis
was precipitated by an average 40 percent decline in Asian currencies
against the U.S. dollar over the past five years, with prices for
Asian yarn and fabric dropping by as much as 38 percent. These drops
have occurred because of competitive devaluations by Asian exporters
which have used currency manipulation to maintain an export advantage
over the U.S. domestic industry. In addition, heavy subsidization
of textile sectors in China, Korea, Taiwan, India and Vietnam, among
others, have contributed to U.S. industry losses. In China and Vietnam
over half the textile industry is state owned and funded.
In response to the crisis
in textiles, the Bush Administration has made a number of commitments
and promises to the domestic textile industry. These include a statement
by President Bush that "I intend to ensure that the interests
of our textile industry and workers are at the heart of our trade
agreements" and that "minimizing the impact of future
trade deals on the domestic textile industry was at the top of the
An unprecedented surge
in Chinese and Vietnamese imports during 2002 and into 2003 led
to appeals to the government to use the China textile safeguard
as well as to impose tight quota limits on imports from Vietnam.
The failure of the government to act effectively in either case
has cost the loss of thousands of additional U.S. textile jobs.