While the urgent need for face masks and surgical gowns during the Covid-19 pandemic has caused a rift in global supply chains, many textile companies are reconsidering their global suppliers and instead focusing on improving the U.S. textile supply chain.
“We need that long-term commitment to make products in the USA,” said Gary Heiman, president and CEO of Standard Textile, which produces both domestically and overseas. Describing how Standard was able to pivot its U.S. facilities to make PPE supplies for the pandemic, he said “the consumer gets so much more with a U.S.-based just-in-time supply chain” that is able to move quickly in situations like this.
On July 1st, the USMCA (U.S. – Mexico – Canada Agreement) entered into force. The trade agreement replaced NAFTA and now protects American jobs from outsourcing and allows the three nations to maintain a steady supply chain without outside competition. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) projects the USMCA will spur $34 billion in investments in U.S. auto plants, $23 billion in American auto parts sales, and create 76,000 new industry jobs over the course of five years. The USTR estimates that the employment gains would include approximately 22,800 automotive assembly jobs, 8,000 additional advanced battery supplier jobs, and 45,600 additional automotive supplier jobs.
While the new trade agreement is great progress towards an adaptable U.S. textile industry, the goal is to have an entirely domestic supply chain.
“There’s a real opportunity for a robust supply chain focused on quality products,” said Buxton Midyette, VP of marketing and promotions at Supima. “We hope that people get spoiled with better quality,” he said, “and that they get used to better quality products for their homes.”
The U.S. textile industry supply chain—from textile fibers to apparel and other sewn products—employed 585,240 workers in 2019. The U.S. government estimates that one textile manufacturing job in this country supports three other American jobs.