Congressman Bill Pascrell

Representing the 9th District of NEW JERSEY

Textile Industry Leaders Join Rep. Pascrellin Fighting To Preserve American Jobs

Jul 24, 2003
Press Release

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WASHINGTON - U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ, 8th) today was joined by members of the textile industry in a press conference denouncing the continued loss of American textile manufacturing jobs, particularly to China.  Pascrell co-authored a letter to President Bush urging him to: 1) initiate the China special textile safeguard to counter the illegal surge of imports from China, 2) reject any pro-China tariff preference levels in the Central American Free Trade Agreement and other free trade agreements, and 3) maintain current U.S. textile tariffs in the Doha round of WTO negotiations.

A new report from American Textile Manufacturing Institute reveals that, unless our government acts now, China is poised to seize 65 to 75 percent of the U.S. textile and apparel market once remaining quotas are removed.  If that occurs, the study shows that the U.S. will lose 650,000 domestic jobs. This corroborates reports by the World Bank and the United Nations indicating that China's vast, subsidized textile industry will become an unstoppable force in world textile and apparel trade once quotas are removed unless corrective countermeasures are taken.

 "The American worker got sold a bogus bill of goods on free trade.  We were told that for every manufacturing job lost at home, two service jobs would be produced.  That has not happened, and manufacturing jobs, particularly in the textile industry, continue to disappear. Of the 3.1 million jobs lost since President Bush took office, 2.4 million have been manufacturing jobs," stated Pascrell.

"Many of these jobs are gone as a direct result of a flawed trade policy, and there is little chance of them being replaced.  Millions of Americans are living in fear that their job will be next.  Non-reciprocal trade agreements have induced a serious wound to the American workforce; we have to stop the bleeding.

 The U.S. trade deficit reached an all-time high last month.  Exports to the U.S. textile and apparel market more than doubled in 2002, growing by an astounding 117%.  China's exports continue to surge in 2003, up an additional 114% through May. 

"We continue to hear rhetoric about economy recovery, well protecting jobs here at home is critical to kick-starting this weak economy. In New Jersey, upwards of 60,000 Garden State manufacturing jobs have been lost due to the impact of competition with China.  I have heard from the owners, more closing are on the way unless action is taken.

 "Today - with a united industry - we are signaling that the administration must change the way it treats the textile and apparel industry and its employees.  Make no mistake; these are not just textile issues.  My colleagues understand that if textiles disappear, other sectors of manufacturing will be next - until all is lost."

Pascrell additionally stated his strong opposition to the two trade bills on the house floor today, H.R. 2738 - United States-Chile Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act and H.R. 2739 - United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement. According to Pascrell, both bills will only serve to increase our record trade deficit and further hemorrhage American jobs overseas.