Fashion’s environmental governance begins with nearshoring and onshoring

If the US fashion industry shifts to onshoring and nearshoring it will reap the benefits from both a business and environmental point of view, writes National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO)’s Kimberly Glas in

Decisions made decades ago have come back to haunt the fashion industry when it comes to environmental governance. About 30 years ago, free trade dogma took hold in our industry and the halls of government. New trade agreements were negotiated. The World Trade Organisation was established, and China was rewarded with Permanent Normal Trade Relations with the United States. Consequently, business was globalised, while economies became evermore intertwined.

In the case of textiles and apparel, offshoring was all the rage. Many sourcing executives scoured developing countries looking for the lowest-cost producers to make their products with a fierce competition that was a race to the bottom for fast, disposable fashion. But lost in all of this were domestic manufacturers and labour and environmental standards necessary to ensure a sustainable supply chain.

However, globalisation brought unforeseen consequences such as well-documented environmental harm, lax overseas labour standards, and a hollowing-out of the middle class here at home and in developed economies — actual costs with real implications for people everywhere.

The fashion industry — from material sourcing, through supply chains to washing and waste — is estimated to be responsible for 8% to 10% of global carbon emissions according to the United Nations.

But what can the industry do? The entire sourcing system needs to be overhauled. Changing times like those in which we live demands no less.

To real the full piece, please click the link here.



Domestic Textile Groups Tell Biden Administration Penalty Tariffs Counteract China’s Unfair Trade Advantage & Give American Producers a Chance to Compete

WASHINGTON –The Biden administration’s Section 301 penalty tariffs on finished textiles and apparel counteract China’s unfair trade advantages and give U.S. manufactures a chance to compete, two key American textile manufacturing groups told the Biden administration today. Removing tariffs, the associations said, would reward China, put U.S. manufacturers at a competitive disadvantage and do nothing to reduce inflation.

In a formal submission to the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) office, which is conducting a four-year statutory review of the tariffs, the associations, representing the entirety of the U.S. textile production chain, expressed strong support for the continuation of current Section 301 penalty tariffs on finished textiles and apparel imports from China and outlined the effectiveness of U.S. tariff actions.

“In some cases, such as on finished apparel, the tariffs have worked to partially offset and counteract China’s unfair trade advantages,” the groups said. “The tariffs on finished textile and apparel items are giving U.S. manufacturers the chance to compete, and we are seeing encouraging investment and growth in moving some production and souring from China back to the Western Hemisphere.”

“The CAFTA-DR [Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement] region has seen more than $1 billion in new textile and apparel investment this year, for example, which is historic and due to the textile and apparel rules negotiated under the agreement and sourcing shifts from China,” they added. “This investment and growing U.S. imports from the Western Hemisphere is attributable in part to the 301 tariffs on finished apparel.  The tariffs on finished items in our sector are broadly supported by textile/apparel producers in the hemispheric co-production chain, and it is essential that they remain in place, absent China reforming its practices.”

The submission was filed by the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) and the U.S. Industrial and Narrow Fabrics Institute (USINFI).

The groups have long advocated for a fair, transparent process to remove tariffs on textile machinery, certain chemicals and dyes and limited textile inputs that cannot be sourced domestically to help U.S. manufacturers compete against China.

They also stressed that lifting the tariffs on finished textiles and apparel products from China “will solidify their global dominance in this sector for generations to come and reward their abusive behaviors, exacerbate the migration crisis, hurt domestic manufacturers and workers, undermine our ability to recalibrate essential PPE supply chains, and blunt the positive supply chains shifts and investments in the Western Hemisphere that are happening.” They added it would “do nothing to solve the inflation crisis facing U.S. consumers and manufacturers right now.”

See the full submission here.

The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) is a not-for-profit trade association established to represent the entire spectrum of the United States textile sector, from fibers to yarns to fabrics to finished products, as well as suppliers of numerous support services such as trucking, banking, chemicals, and other such sectors that have a stake in the prosperity and survival of the U.S. textile sector.  U.S. textile and apparel manufacturers produced $65.2 billion in output in 2021, and our sector’s supply chain employs 534,000 workers from fiber to finished sewn products.  NCTO’s headquarters are in Washington, DC.

The United States Industrial and Narrow Fabrics Institute (USINFI)  Member companies manufacture highly-specialized textile products, advanced materials, and components used to support a variety of high-value-added and sophisticated industries.  These include the aerospace, automotive, construction, marine, medical, military, and safety/protective gear sectors among others.  USINFI currently has over 90 member companies, and its headquarters are in Roseville, MN.



NCTO is a Washington, DC-based trade association that represents domestic textile manufacturers.


Kristi Ellis

Vice President, Communications

National Council of Textile Organizations |  202.684.3091