Menendez: "Leveling Playing Field will Help Us Create Jobs in New Jersey, Not Overseas"
Washington - Ending an unfair advantage for foreign shirt manufacturers will help protect as many as 10,000 American jobs - including 300 manufacturing jobs in New Jersey - a bi-partisan group of Senators said today. US Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) joined with Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Bob Casey (D-PA) to lead the fight to help refund many of the unfair duties on domestic shirt makers - leveling the playing field for American businesses and protecting American workers.
Currently, many foreign manufacturers enjoy duty-free treatment for imports of finished dress shirts while U.S. shirt manufacturers pay tariffs as high as 13.5 percent on shirt fabrics, such as cotton. In order to level the playing field for American workers, the Senators are calling for the re-creation of the Cotton Trust Fund, which was created to correct duties that favored foreign manufacturers over domestic manufacturers. The fund reimburses domestic manufacturers for higher duty rates paid on imported raw material. Reviving the program, which expired at the end of 2009, would specifically help shirt manufacturers in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and North Carolina and others remain competitive - protecting jobs in America.
Last month, Menendez toured both "Individualized Shirts" and "Gambert Shirts", two New Jersey shirt manufacturers that would have to eliminate hundreds of jobs without this legislation.
Senator Menendez said, "American workers are the best in the world. But they're fighting a losing battle on an uneven playing field. That's wrong, and it's time we fix it. By leveling the playing field we can create jobs right here in New Jersey, not overseas.""This program has a proven track record stemming the loss of apparel and textile manufacturing jobs and in promoting U.S. exports.," said Senator Casey. "It is imperative that we extend this tariff relief to Pennsylvania manufacturers so that they can compete and thrive."