Wednesday, Congressman Larry Kissell (NC-08) met with representatives of over twenty industrial fabric manufacturers, including many North Carolina companies, to highlight the effects of U.S. trade policies on American manufacturing. The meeting kicked off a day of campaigning against bad trade policies, including the upcoming Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, expected to be presented to Congress soon.
"No one feels the effects of our nation's trade policies more directly than American manufacturers, especially these leaders of our textile industry," said Kissell. "For far too long, bad trade deals and misguided Washington policies have ravaged our economy, shipping jobs overseas and furthering our mounting trade deficits. No brand is better than Made in the USA, and I will work to defeat any trade deal that offshores American jobs and hinders our ability to better export our top-of-the-line goods. The Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement uses the same flawed model of CAFTA and NAFTA, and simply isn't right for the people of my district. I was glad to hear directly from these industry leaders on what will best help them increase their exports and create more American jobs."
The manufacturers present included members of the U.S. Industrial Fabrics Institute (USIFI), a coalition of U.S.-based fiber and fabric manufacturers dedicated to promoting exports of American industrial and high-tech textiles, including Glen Raven, Inc., Highland Industries and Brawer Technical Yarns, all of North Carolina.
"USIFI members benefited greatly from Representative Kissell's insights in regard to U.S. trade policy and the Korean Free Trade Agreement in particular," said Ruth Stephens, Executive Director of the USIFI. "More importantly, we are greatly appreciative of his strong opposition to the flawed Korean agreement and his work to defeat the free trade deal in Congress."
The USIFI member companies joined representatives from the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition (AMTAC) for two days of meeting with members of Congress to discuss pending legislation important to the textile and manufacturing industries, including both groups' opposition of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement.
"We were happy to start our day off by meeting with Congressman Kissell, a champion of U.S. manufacturing, especially on issues that impact the U.S. textile industry," said Auggie Tantillo, Executive Director of the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition. "He is leading the fight in Congress to stop these bad trade deals from devastating our manufacturing sector, and understands the importance of protecting American workers. This Korean Free Trade Agreement will further jeopardize jobs and harm American companies, and we'll continue to do all we can to stop this unfair deal."
The group also discussed its support of H.R. 679, the Berry Amendment Extension Act, which Kissell reintroduced in January. The bill would permanently require the Department of Homeland Security and all of its agencies to purchase and procure textiles made entirely in America.