WASHINGTON — Kim Glas, deputy assistant secretary for textiles, consumer goods and materials at the Commerce Department, who has been a big advocate for U.S. textile and apparel manufacturing and President Obama’s Made in America campaign, is stepping down.
In addition to her position as deputy assistant secretary, Glas will also leave the position of chair of the interagency Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements.
Glas confirmed in an e-mail to WWD that she is leaving the dual posts on June 6 to become the executive vice president of the BlueGreen Alliance in Washington, a national partnership of 14 unions and environmental organizations advocating for renewable energy; energy efficiency, and safer, cleaner chemicals, among other issues, to create a “clean economy.”
During her tenure at Commerce, Glas has been a leading proponent of U.S. manufacturing and exporting, helping carve out textile and apparel initiatives as well as assisting in resolving industry-specific trade issues for both domestic textile and apparel companies and importers and retailers.
Among the initiatives Glas helped spearhead at Commerce’s Office of Textiles and Apparel were the launch of a Made in USA database in September, helping link buyers with U.S. textile and apparel makers, and the first Western Hemisphere sourcing summit at MAGIC two years ago.
Glas worked alongside her counterpart Gail Strickler, assistant U.S. trade representative for textiles and apparel at the U.S. Trade Representative’s office, in striking a balance between conflicting industry interests and opening new markets for exports in key trade negotiations, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership talks between the U.S. and the European Union.
She also assisted Francisco Sánchez, former undersecretary of international trade at Commerce, who stepped down last September, in pressing the Mexican government for a more streamlined process to help lessen the burden and exorbitant costs of audits that Mexican tax authorities imposed on some U.S. textile producers exporting to Mexico.
“It is a big loss for the industry,” said Julia Hughes, president of the U.S. Fashion Industry Association. “On both the fashion industry [and importing] side and the domestic side, everyone enjoyed working with Kim and really appreciated her open-door policy and her willingness to listen to issues raised by the industry. We worked a lot with her on Made in USA and the new initiatives that she put in place at the Commerce Department, such as the public database they created. It really helped meet the needs of member companies that are interested in more information about Made in USA.”
“We will definitely miss Kim,” said Auggie Tantillo, president of the National Council of Textile Organizations. “She was incredibly professional, official and always gave a very even-handed approach to the issues she dealt with.” Tantillo credited Glas for her “willingness to give us a fair opportunity to make our case on what is the single biggest matter before the Obama administration from our perspective and that is TPP.
“It is not resolved yet, but we feel like she continually gave us a very open and accessible process where our concerns were very substantially considered. That doesn’t mean that the Obama administration has agreed with us on everything, but we felt like we got an honest hearing every time we approached Kim,” Tantillo said.
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