Vice President Kamala Harris Shines Spotlight on Parkdale Mills Investment at White House Roundtable

Vice President Kamala Harris highlighted investments in northern Central America and the U.S. by Parkdale Mills and six other companies at a White House roundtable on December 13, part of the administration’s Call to Action to the private sector to promote economic opportunity in the region to address the root causes of migration.

Parkdale Mills, one of the largest manufacturers of spun yarn and cotton consumer products it he world, will make a multimillion-dollar investment in a new yarn spinning facility in Honduras, as well as an additional substantial investment to support existing operations in Hillsville, Virginia. This investment will help customers shift one million pounds of yarn per week away from supply chains in Asia and China and enhance U.S. and CAFTA-DR co-production resilience an dincrease regional product offerings. The new investment will create hundreds of jobs in Honduras and further support hundreds of employees in Parkdale’s Hillsville operations.

Parkdale Chairman and CEO Andy Warlick attended the Vice President’s roundtable and outlined the importance of onshoring and nearshoring, particularly in the midst of a global supply chain crisis that is forcing retailers and brands to recalibrate supply chain strategies to mitigate risk.

The co-production chain with Central America is vital to the employment and investment in the region and the U.S.

Here are some compelling facts:

  • There is $12.5 billion in two-way textile and apparel trade between the U.S. and CAFTA-DR countries, representing $3.5 billion in U.S. textile exports to the region, which resulted in $9 billion in CAFTA-DR textile and apparel exports to the United States, based on pre-pandemic trade flows in 2019.
  • The benefits of this important two-way trading structure help employ 500,000 textile and apparel workers in the CAFTA-DR region and 600,000 workers in the United States.
  • Eighty percent of all U.S. spun yarn exports go to the CAFTA-DR region, while 65 percent goes to the Northern Triangle, three CAFTA countries that Vice President Harris and the administration are examining closely.
  • Two-thirds of U.S. textile exports to the CAFTA-DR region go to the countries of the Northern Triangle. In return, 70 percent of CAFTA-DR textile and apparel exports to the U.S. come from the countries of the Northern Triangle.
  • For every $1 of U.S. textile exports, we receive approximately $2.70 in textile imports from the Northern Triangle.

This supply chain is predicated on the strong yarn forward rule of origin and other textile rules in the CAFTA-DR agreement.

Recently, administration officials from the U.S. Trade Representative’s office and the Vice President’s office met with the U.S. textile industry to reaffirm the importance of rules of origin in nearshoring production chains, helping address labor and environmental challengers and mitigating supply chain risk.

Remarkably, as supply chain issues out of Asia are on the front page, some importers are seeking so- called “relief,” and proposing to weaken the yarn forward rule of origin and other provisions in the agreement. Changing any aspect of the textile rules embedded in the CAFTA-DR agreement would give Chinese yarns and fabrics and those from other countries that are not signatories to the trade pact backdoor access to the CAFTA-DR market and jeopardize hundreds of thousands of jobs that in U.S., CAFTA-DR region and the entire Western Hemisphere.

Warlick highlighted to the vice president the critical co-production chain with the CAFTA-DR region and stressed that this supply chain is quicker, more transparent, more reliable, more sustainable, and free of the forced labor that has been widely documented in Xinjiang, China.

In terms of sustainability alone, a container coming from Central America versus China cuts greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent. On average, apparel exported from China produces 51.8 kgs of C02 per ton, compared to 18.1 Kgs of CO2 from CAFTA-DR.

Warlick offered a vision for the future of the U.S. industry and this critical co-production chain with Central America and the Western Hemisphere as a whole.

The CAFTA-DR region represents about 7 percent of global apparel and textile imports to the U.S., while China and Asia represent the vast majority of the remaining 93 percent.

By merely doubling the productive capacity and exports from CAFTA-DR, an estimated 2.4 million jobs could be created and billions of dollars in new investment could be unlocked, according to an independent analysis on the economic impact of CAFTA-DR.

NCTO continues to urge retailers and apparel brands to make long-term investments in onshoring and nearshoring production to not only avoid the next breakdown in global supply chains but to invest in strong labor and environmental standards and employment in this hemisphere.

Parkdale’s investment and anticipated investments by other NCTO members underscore how critical and valuable the co-production chain is to the economies of the U.S. and Central America.

This is an exciting time for nearshoring and onshoring these critical production chains. There is a long history in this industry with Central America and the Western Hemisphere and we have never seen an opportunity that is so ripe for these investments and further strengthening our textile and apparel co-production chain.