Monday, March 1, 2021

SPE1C1-21-R-0040 Multi-Ply Cloth Face Cove

As part of his National Strategy to defeat COVID-19, on February 24, President Biden announced a new effort to make masks more easily available to communities hard hit by the pandemic. The Administration will deliver more than 25 million masks to over 1,300 Community Health Centers across the country as well as 60,000 food pantries and soup kitchens, reaching some of the nation’s most vulnerable populations.

On Friday, February 28, DLA issued the following solicitation for the procurement of the cloth face masks,

Scope: The Contractor shall provide all necessary material and equipment in order to manufacture cloth face covers for individual wear. The Face Cover shall meet the requirements of ASTM F3502-21 Standard Specification for Barrier Face Coverings. The face cover is not intended to replace surgical masks, N-95 respirators, or other medical devices.

Sizes: The Contractor shall provide face covers in two sizes: • Youth size • Adult size Appendix X1 of ASTM F3502-21 describes the Modified NIOSH Bivariate Panel. Youth size face covers shall be a good fit for individuals having facial dimensions as described in cells 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 of figure X1.1 of ASTM F3502-21. Adult size face covers shall be a good fit for individuals having facial dimensions as described in cells 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 of figure X1.1 of ASTM F3502-21.

Salient Characteristics: The face cover shall be made of at least two layers of cloth. Removable inserts or filters are not considered a layer of cloth. The face cover shall meet, at a minimum, the ASTM F3502-21 Level 1 performance for filtration efficiency (>20%) and Level 1 performance for air flow resistance (<15mmH20).

Materials: Materials found to be acceptable for face covers include the following:

  • 100% Polyester tricot knit
  • 65% Polyester, 35% Cotton plain weave
  • 57% T420 High Tenacity Nylon, 43% Cotton ripstop weave
  • 65% Rayon, 25% Para-aramid, 10% Nylon weave
Other materials may be acceptable, provided they conform to the requirements of this solicitation.

Biden Administration Releases 2021 President’s Trade Agenda and 2020 Annual Report

On March 1, 2021, the Office of the United States Trade Representative delivered President Biden’s 2021 Trade Policy Agenda and Annual Report to Congress.

The report was accompanied by this Fact Sheet

The President’s trade agenda is a key part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s effort to defeat COVID-19, help the economy recover, and build back better. President Biden will pursue a fair international trading system that promotes inclusive economic growth and reflects America’s universal values. The President knows that trade policy must respect the dignity of work and value Americans as workers and wage-earners, not only as consumers.

President Biden’s trade priorities outlined in the report are:

  • Tackling the COVID-19 Pandemic and Restoring the Economy: The Biden Administration is focused on increasing vaccine production and distribution so that every American can be vaccinated as soon as possible. The trade agenda will support long-term investments to strengthen domestic production of essential medical equipment, expand industrial capacity and bolster preparation to tackle future public health crises. The trade agenda will also support the goal of ensuring that frontline workers have immediate access to necessary personal protective equipment and promote long-term supply chain resiliency for equipment and supplies critical to protecting public health in the United States.

    Trade policy will also support the broader economic recovery by helping companies, including small businesses and entrepreneurs, put Americans to work by building world-class products for export to foreign markets.

  • A Worker Centric Trade Policy: Trade policy is an essential part of the Build Back Better agenda. Trade must protect and empower workers, drive wage growth, and lead to better economic outcomes for all Americans. The Biden Administration will review past trade policies for their impacts on, and unintended consequences for, workers.

    Workers will have a seat at the table as the Biden Administration develops new trade policies that promote equitable economic growth by including strong, enforceable labor standards in trade agreements that protect workers’ rights and increase economic security. The Administration will engage allies to secure commitments to fight forced labor and exploitative labor conditions, and increase transparency and accountability in global supply chains.

  • Putting the World on a Sustainable Environment and Climate Path: The United States will work with other countries, both bilaterally and multilaterally, towards environmental sustainability and raising global climate ambition. As part of the whole-of-government effort, the trade agenda will include the negotiation and implementation of strong environmental standards that are critical to a sustainable climate pathway.

    The trade agenda will support the Biden Administration’s comprehensive vision of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and achieving net-zero global emissions by 2050, or before, by fostering U.S. innovation and production of climate-related technology and promoting resilient renewable energy supply chains.

  • Advancing Racial Equity and Supporting Underserved Communities: The Biden Administration is committed to a trade agenda that ensures that the concerns and perspectives of Black, Latino, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI), and Native American workers, their families, and businesses are a cornerstone of proposed policies. Through thoughtful, sustained, engagement and innovative data collection and sharing, the Biden Administration will seek to better understand the projected impact of proposed trade policies on communities of color and will consider those impacts before pursuing such policies.
  • Addressing China’s Coercive and Unfair Economic Trade Practices Through a Comprehensive Strategy: The Biden Administration recognizes that China's coercive and unfair trade practices harm American workers, threaten our technological edge, weaken our supply chain resiliency, and undermine our national interests. The ongoing comprehensive review of U.S. trade policy toward China is integral to the development of the Administration’s overall China strategy.

    The Biden Administration is committed to using all available tools to take on the range of China’s unfair trade practices that continue to harm U.S. workers and businesses. It will also make it a top priority to address the widespread human rights abuses of the Chinese government’s forced labor program that targets the Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and elsewhere in the country.

    Along with pursuing strong enforcement to ensure that China lives up to its existing trade obligations, the Biden Administration will also seek to collaborate with allies to address global market distortions created by industrial overcapacity. Key sectors range from steel and aluminum to fiber optics, solar, and other sectors where the Chinese Government has been a key contributor.

  • Partnering with Friends and Allies: Restoring U.S. leadership around the world and repairing partnerships and alliances are Biden Administration priorities. The United States will work with World Trade Organization’s Director-General Okonjo-Iweala and like-minded trading partners to implement necessary reforms to the WTO's substantive rules and procedures to address the challenges facing the global trading system, including growing inequality, digital transformation, and impediments to small business trade.

    The Administration will work with allies and like-minded trading partners to establish high-standard global rules to govern the digital economy, in line with our shared democratic values. Where gaps exist in international trade rules, the United States will work to address them, including through enhanced cooperation with our partners and allies.

  • Standing Up for American Farmers, Ranchers, Food Manufacturers, and Fishers: Erratic trade actions in recent years taken without a broader strategy burdened America’s agricultural communities. The Biden Administration will stand up for American farmers, ranchers, food manufacturers, and fishers by pursuing smarter trade policies that are inclusive and work for all producers. The trade agenda will seek to expand global market opportunities for American farmers, ranchers, food manufacturers, and fishers and will defend our producers by enforcing global agricultural trade rules.
  • Promoting Equitable Economic Growth Around the World: Policies that promote equitable global economic growth and increase global demand benefit American workers, manufacturers, farmers, ranchers, fishers and service providers by expanding the customer base. The trade agenda will include a review of existing trade programs to evaluate their contribution to equitable economic development, including whether they reduce wage gaps, increase worker unionization, promote safe workplaces, tackle forced labor and exploitative labor conditions, and lead to the economic empowerment of women and underrepresented communities. As part of this review, the Biden Administration will seek to incorporate corporate accountability and sustainability into trade policies.
  • Making the Rules Count: Strong trade enforcement is essential to making sure our trading partners live up to their commitments and that U.S. trade policy benefits American workers, manufacturers, farmers, businesses, families, and communities. The trade agenda will include comprehensive enforcement of trade agreements, including their labor and environmental standards.

    The Administration will also consider new ways to address the suppression of wages and workers’ rights in other countries to the detriment of U.S. workers. Although unilateral action may be necessary in some instances, President Biden will prioritize working on trade enforcement with friends and allies and pursue meaningful change for U.S. workers and businesses in the global trading landscape.

The Biden Administration will pursue a trade policy that helps the U.S. economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and reinforces investments our country is making in the domestic economy. Through a review of existing policies, negotiations of new standards, enforcement of our trade agreements, and partnership with our allies, President Biden’s trade agenda will support all workers, combat climate change, advance racial equity, increase supply chain resiliency, and expand market opportunities for American manufacturers, producers, farmers, fishers and businesses of all sizes.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Webinar: New Industrial Sewing Program From We Make Rhode Island

On March 3, 2021, Chairman of the Rhode Island Textile Innovation Network & CEO of Trans-Tex LLC, Michael Woody, will discuss an Industrial Sewing workforce program with Barbara Jackson, Executive Director of We Make RI, a manufacturing training organization in Cranston, Rhode Island.

For more information, or to register, CLICK HERE

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Clothing Contracts for Foreign Military Sales Awarded

Atlantic Diving Supply Inc., Virginia Beach, Virginia (W91CRB-21-A-0002); Aquila International LLC, Woodbridge, Virginia (W91CRB-21-A-0003); Government Suppliers & Associates Inc., Vonore, Tennessee (W91CRB-21-A-0004); RRDS Inc., Irvine, California (W91CRB-21-A-0005); and US 21 Inc., Fairfax, Virginia (W91CRB-21-A-0006), will compete for each order of the $28,000,000 firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of organizational clothing and individual equipment to support Foreign Military Sales requirements. Bids were solicited via the internet with seven received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Feb. 24, 2026. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, is the contracting activity.

Within the U.S. industry it is widely understood that Department of Defense acquisitions of textiles and clothing are government by the Berry Amendment which requires domestic U.S. sourcing. Less well known is that the Berry Amendment applies to all funds "made available" to the Defense Department. That includes Department of Defense procurement for Foreign Military Sales.

Army and Air Force $11.9 Million Undershirt Contact Awarded

Knox County Association for Retarded Citizens, Vincennes, Indiana, has been awarded a maximum $11,895,468 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for undershirts. This is a one-year base contract with two one-year option periods. Location of performance is Indiana, with a Feb. 24, 2022, ordering period end date. Using military services are Army and Air Force. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2021 through 2022 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPE1C1-21-D-N140)

Opening Statement of Ambassador-designate Katherine Tai Before the Senate Finance Committee

On February 24, 2021, the Office of the United States Trade Representative released the opening statement of Ambassador-designate Katherine Tai before the Senate Finance Committee. In her prepared remarks, Tai outlines her vision for leading the agency in pursuit of trade policies that will benefit all Americans and help jumpstart the economy. Tai also details her commitment to re-engaging international institutions to address common threats like climate change, the COVID pandemic, and the global economic downturn. The full text of Ambassador-designate Tai’s remarks is below:

"Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Crapo, and members of the Committee — thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today.

"The chance to serve the American people, fight on their behalf, and represent them on the world stage once again will be the greatest honor of my life. It’s a privilege I’ve experienced before at the Office of the United States Trade Representative — and a responsibility that, if confirmed, I look forward to embracing once again. I thank President Biden for providing me with this opportunity.

"Serving as the top U.S. trade representative around the globe holds special resonance for me as the daughter of immigrants.

"My parents were born in mainland China, and grew up in Taiwan. The immigration reforms set in motion by President Kennedy opened a path for them to come here as graduate students in the sciences. And they made the most of their American opportunity.

"My dad became a researcher at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. He helped the Army develop treatments for illnesses that had debilitated GIs during the Vietnam War – the war in which my father-in-law fought bravely as a young man.

"My mom still works at the National Institutes of Health. She heads a clinical trials network, developing treatments for opioid addiction that will help to stem an epidemic causing so much suffering in our communities.

"I am proud of their service to the nation that welcomed them. And I am proud to live in a country where, in just one generation, their daughter could grow up to represent the United States and our interests around the globe.

"That sense of pride and patriotism will ground me every day if I have the honor to be confirmed as United States Trade Representative.

"I know that the challenges ahead are significant.

"Our first priority will be to help American communities emerge from the pandemic and economic crisis. USTR has an important role to play in that effort. Working with Congress, the entire Biden-Harris administration, and other countries and trusted partners, USTR will help to build out strong supply chains that will get our economy back on track.

"In the longer term, we must pursue trade policies that advance the interests of all Americans — policies that recognize that people are workers and wage earners, not just consumers; policies that promote broad, equitable growth here at home; policies that support American innovation and enhance our competitive edge.

"That’s why I will make it a priority to implement and enforce the renewed terms of our trade relationship with Canada and Mexico. Too often in the past, Congress and the administration came together to finalize and pass a trade agreement. But then other urgent matters arose and we all moved on. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is a uniquely bipartisan accomplishment that must break that trend. It represents an important step in reforming our approach to trade. We must all continue to prioritize its implementation and success. We must continue to pursue trade policies that are ambitious in achieving robust, bipartisan support.

"I will also prioritize rebuilding our international alliances and partnerships, and re-engaging with international institutions. We must do the hard work, and secure the necessary reforms that allow the world to come together and address common threats like climate change, the COVID pandemic, and a global economic downturn.

"That duty of leadership extends, of course, to addressing the challenges posed by China.

"I previously served as America’s chief enforcer against China’s unfair trade practices. I know firsthand how critically important it is that we have a strategic and coherent plan for holding China accountable to its promises and effectively competing with its model of state-directed economics. I know the opportunities and limitations in our existing toolbox. And I know how important it is to build what the President has termed “a united front of U.S. allies.”

"We must recommit to working relentlessly with others to promote and defend our shared values of freedom, democracy, truth, and opportunity in a just society.

"China is simultaneously a rival, a trade partner, and an outsized player whose cooperation we’ll also need to address certain global challenges. We must remember how to walk, chew gum and play chess at the same time. That means here at home, we must prioritize resilience and make the investments in our people and our infrastructure to harness our potential, boost our competitiveness, and build a more inclusive prosperity. We must also impart the values and rules that guide global commerce — and we must enforce those terms vigorously.

"This is work I am eager to take on once more.

"Having spent my career fighting for American workers, I am honored by the opportunity to work alongside the bright and dedicated public servants at USTR, with our partners and allies, and with each of you. Having served nearly seven years in the House of Representatives, I know that U.S. trade policy is most successful when it is conducted through a healthy partnership between the administration and the Congress.

"I look forward to bringing our trade relationships to bear helping American communities emerge out of crisis and into greater prosperity."

Executive Order on America’s Supply Chains

On February 24, 2021, President Joseph Biden signed an Executive Order on America’s Supply Chains, stating:

"The United States needs resilient, diverse, and secure supply chains to ensure our economic prosperity and national security. Pandemics and other biological threats, cyber-attacks, climate shocks and extreme weather events, terrorist attacks, geopolitical and economic competition, and other conditions can reduce critical manufacturing capacity and the availability and integrity of critical goods, products, and services. Resilient American supply chains will revitalize and rebuild domestic manufacturing capacity, maintain America’s competitive edge in research and development, and create well-paying jobs. They will also support small businesses, promote prosperity, advance the fight against climate change, and encourage economic growth in communities of color and economically distressed areas. "