The National Council of Textile Organizations’ outgoing chairman “enthusiastically” lent his support to President Trump’s America First agenda, including changes to trade and tax policy.
Robert Chapman 3rd said during a conference on the state of the U.S. textile industry that Trump’s broad yet still vague policy objectives — such as a review of trade deals, a “big, big tax cut” for corporations and a controversial tax change aimed at importers — are “cause for optimism” within the domestic textile market.
“For decades, U.S. policy has undervalued domestic manufacturing’s importance to America, and President Trump is right to question whether this has been good for the country,” Chapman said. “Precisely because they will simulate manufacturing and kick-start job creation, NCTO enthusiastically endorses President Trump’s macro policy objectives of fighting for free but fair trade, enforcing U.S. trade law, making the U.S. tax code more internationally competitive, cutting unnecessary regulation, revitalizing infrastructure, buying American, ensuring cheap energy and fixing health care.”
Trump has sought to move quickly in making his mark on Washington, D.C., but is starting to come up against the realities of making major policy changes. His proposed replacement for former-President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is facing a tough slog headed into key vote in the House. He has sought to chip away at the federal bureaucracy, issuing an executive order forcing every government agency to cut two regulations for every new rule created, and his proposed federal budget calls for billions in cuts in those same agencies.
Homing in on Trump’s trade policy, Chapman said NCTO is in support of Trump move to pull the U.S. out of the 12-county Trans-Pacific Partnership, although the group publicly supported the trade agreement in 2016.
Chapman characterized the change as a “strategic repositioning” and said the earlier support of TPP was mainly due to the NCTO’s need to stay “true to its word” to the Obama administration, which negotiated with the group on the agreement in exchange for its support.
“The 2016 election of President Trump brought about a dramatic change on trade…[and his] fundamental opposition to TPP allowed NCTO to revisit its position and communicate to his transition team soon after the election that NCTO supported withdrawal from TPP.”
As for the North American Free Trade Agreement, Chapman said NCTO is still a strong supporter of the deal since it’s “the pillar upon which the U.S.-Western Hemisphere supply chain is built,” noting that Canada and Mexico are the U.S.’s biggest textile export markets.
Chapman said NAFTA could benefit from a review and added that the association is ready to “aggressively work” to ensure textiles are a part of any regulation strengthening “buy American” requirements.
Chapman is being replaced this year as chairman of NCTO by William McCrary Jr., the current chairman and chief executive officer of William Barnet & Son LLC, a South Carolina-based synthetic fiber firm.
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