Although export of raw cotton has become essential to U.S. cotton producers’ economic well-being, the National Cotton Council continues its longstanding work for our domestic textile industry.
How about assistance in the legislative arena?
n A major effort is the NCC’s work to maintain the highly successful “Economic Assistance to Users of Upland Cotton” program first introduced in 2008 farm law and reauthorized in the 2014 bill. This program makes a payment of 3 cents per pound to U.S. textile manufacturers for all upland cotton consumed. Payments must be used for specific purposes such as acquisition, construction, installation, modernization, development, conversion, or expansion of land, plant buildings, equipment, facilities or machinery.
More recently, the NCC has been working with the Washington D.C.-based National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) and key lawmakers to make sure the Berry Amendment is not weakened in the FY16 National Defense Authorization Act. That Amendment requires the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security to purchase textiles and apparel made with 100 percent U.S. fiber and labor. Likewise, the NCC, NCTO and others have conveyed to lawmakers the critical need for Export-Import Bank Reauthorization. The Ex-Im Bank provides important financing for the U.S. textile industry and its ability to export products.
The work with lawmakers on key trade legislation also is aimed at helping the U.S. textile sector. For example, last year the NCC and NCTO urged the Senate Finance Committee’s Cotton Belt Members to oppose any damaging amendments to Trade Promotion Authority legislation. One of those amendments would have undermined U.S. textiles by extending certain expired or expiring tariff preference levels for textile/apparel products imported here from some countries.
What about more recent support?
n Early in 2015, NCTO leaders agreed the U.S. textile industry needed a complete public relations “remake” to change long-held negative perceptions and establish a baseline appreciation for the industry as a major employer, investor, innovator, producer, exporter and competitor in the global marketplace. NCTO collaborated with a marketing/public relations firm to determine how the industry could be rebranded. The result was the development and recent launch of American Textiles: We Make AmazingTM, a campaign to which the NCC provided financial support.
This multi-year, public awareness campaign is designed to educate and engage target audiences, build support, strengthen alliances and create a more positive and accurate perception of the 21st century American textile industry. That includes highlighting the industry’s broad array of innovative products and the essential role they play in daily life.
The campaign’s guiding position is: “Our imagination inspires astonishing achievements that impact the world in often unrecognized, yet amazing ways. Through ingenuity, grit, heart and collaboration, the American Textile industry saves and improves lives, protects and motivates adventurers, builds strong communities and makes life more comfortable, more sustainable, more beautiful and more extraordinary.” The campaign theme is being brought to life by combining visual marketing with compelling member stories over video, print and digital platforms. More information on the campaign and its components is at www.ncto.org.
Gary Adams is president/chief executive officer of the National Cotton Council of America. He and other NCC leaders contribute columns on this Cotton Farming magazine page.