Wednesday, March 27, 2013

National Textile Association, Citing Failed Government Trade Policy, Closes Doors after 159 Years

America's oldest textile trade association, citing three decades of failed government trade policy and subsequent industry contraction, announces consolidation with a similar organization in order to more effectively represent the U.S. textile industry.

March 22, 2013, Boston -- On March 19th the Board of Government of the National Textile Association ("NTA"), based in Boston, voted to cease operations and turn the Association’s membership list and assets over to the National Council of Textile Organizations ("NCTO"), based in Gastonia, N.C., effectively merging the two groups, each of which represented a substantial part of the domestic U.S. textile industry. The merger will be effective April 1st.

Hank Truslow, Sr., of Sunbury Textile Mills, the only U.S. fabric-maker that was a member of both NTA and NCTO prior to the merger said, "It is a sad day when a 159-year-old organization, effectively serving its members, decides to close its doors. We attribute this historic denouement to failed and destructive government trade policies under the last five Presidents, Republican and Democratic."

The consolidation, which involves a third group, the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition ("AMTAC") is undertaken to form a stronger more effective voice in Washington. George Shuster, Chairman of Cranston Prints Works and Chairman of NTA, as well as Co-Chairman of AMTAC said: "The creation of this merged organization will allow the domestic textile industry to more quickly and effectively address the wide range of federal policy developments of importance to the over 1.5 million workers in the United States whose jobs are either directly or indirectly tied to this critical manufacturing sector."

The immediate and pressing concern of the new organization is the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership ("TPP") free trade agreement negotiations. The consolidation will improve the structural efficiency of the industry's representation in Washington by combining and maximizing the various strengths of the three separate associations; more efficiently utilizing the industry's financial resources by eliminating duplicative efforts; and allowing for a more systematic effort to recruit new members, specifically domestic textile companies that currently are not members of any textile trade association.

To the new organization the former members of NTA bring important breadth of product sectors and geography. NCTO's coverage of the wool textile industry, upholstery fabrics, and knitted textiles, will be substantially increased by the merger with NTA. NTA's American Flock Association brings to NCTO an entirely new textile sector. Overall the NTA membership, with wide representation in the Northeast, Midwest, and West Coast, will greatly enhance NCTO's geographic representation, which will be extremely helpful as the industry fights for a strong rule of origin and long tariff phase-out schedule in the TPP.

Karl Spilhaus, longtime President of NTA, said, "I am extremely proud of NTA’s membership; they are survivors of a turbulent economic climate, characterizing the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit, that made our American industry great." Mr. Spilhaus will continue to direct the activities of the Cashmere and Camel Hair Manufacturers Institute, formerly a division of NTA, with an office at the government relations consulting firm of ADS Ventures in Boston.

The National Textile Association traces its history to 1854, the founding date of the Hampden County (Massachusetts) Cotton Spinners Association. It was reorganized in 1865 as the New England Cotton Manufacturers Association and became the National Association of Cotton Manufacturers in 1906. In 1954 the name was again changed to the Northern Textile Association. In 2012 the Northern Textile Association merged with the Knitted Textile Association to become the National Textile Association.

Contact Information
Karl Spilhaus – 617-542-7481

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