The National Council of Textile Organizations confirmed that U.S. textile and apparel companies have ample capacity to supply uniforms for the U.S. Olympic team, according to Cass Johnson, president of the National Council of Textile Organizations.

“Our industry and our colleagues could have easily supplied this product.  In the last three years, we have invested over $3 billion in our industry, including building new plants in the United States that produce some of the most innovative yarns and fabrics found anywhere.  We have added more than 2,000 new jobs during a time that the U.S. economy is struggling.”

The U.S. textile industry shipped $53 billion worth of textile products last year, including large quantities of uniform fabric and other materials of the type used by TEAM USA.

NCTO urged Ralph Lauren and the U.S. Olympic Committee to consider sourcing options in the United States, which are plentiful and increasingly cost competitive.

NCTO noted that major studies from Boston Consulting Group and others have urged importers to reconsider sourcing product in the United States.  These studies point out that increasing labor costs in China, higher transportation costs and better productivity in U.S. plants have sharply narrowed the “China Advantage” in many manufactured product areas.

Johnson also noted that Ralph Lauren, along with other importers, has been a major proponent of changing long standing trade rules in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks in order to allow increased sourcing of textile products from China.  Such a move would shift existing textile orders – and jobs - out of the U.S. and back to China.  The U.S. textile industry, along with the U.S. government, has strongly opposed these changes.

NCTO urges Ralph Lauren and other importers to reconsider the U.S. industry for sourcing textile products.  Johnson concluded, “Once they take a look, importers will find innovative products, fast turnaround times and competitive prices for goods made in the United States.”

Key facts

· The U.S. textile industry is a large manufacturing employer in the United States. The overall textile sector - from textile fibers to apparel - employed 506,000 workers in 2011.

· Textile companies alone employed 238,000 workers.

· The U.S. government estimates that one textile job in this country supports three other jobs.

· U.S. textile shipments totaled $53 billion in 2011.

· The U.S. textile industry is the third largest exporter of textile products in the world. Exports in 2010 grew 13.4 percent to more than $17 billion in 2011. Total textile and apparel exports were a record $22.4 billion.

· Nearly two-thirds of U.S. textile exports during 2011 went to our Western Hemisphere free trade partners. The U.S. textile industry exported to more than 170 countries, with 22 countries buying more than $100 million a year.

· The U.S. textile industry supplies more than 8,000 different textile products per year to the U.S. military.

· The U.S. is the world leader in textile research and development, with private textile companies and universities developing new textile materials such as conductive fabric with antistatic properties, electronic textiles that monitor heart rate and other vital signs, antimicrobial fibers, antiballistic body armor for people and the machines that carry them and new garments that adapt to the climate to make the wearer warmer or cooler.

· The U.S. textile industry invested $16.5 billion in new plants and equipment from 2001 to 2010. And recently producers have opened new fiber, yarn and recycling facilities to convert textile waste to new textile uses and resins.

· The U.S. textile industry has increased productivity by 45 percent over the last 10 years, making textiles one of the top industries among all industrial sectors in productivity increases.

· In 2011, textile workers on average earned 151% more than apparel store workers ($575 per week vs. $229) and received health care and pension benefits.