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Tariff Repeal Could Level Playing Field for U.S. Textile Industry, Says Sen. Menendez


U.S. Senator Robert Menendez plans to introduce a bill he says will help keep U.S. textile industry competitive.

Senator Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) says the new tariff-repealing legislation will keep and create manufacturing jobs in the U.S. textile industry.

Menendez accused current U.S. policy of actually encouraging American companies to move production--and jobs--overseas.

The bill will reduce duties paid on imported fabrics. Mitch Gambert of Newark, N.J.-based Gambert Shirts says quality American shirt manufacturers are at a disadvantage because of the tariff placed on fine raw materials from countries including Italy and Egypt. Gambert says by increasing overall profit margins the legislation will help “maintain U.S.-based manufacturing.”

Gambert says the current tariff has him paying an additional 13 to 17 percent for every yard of fabric. By removing or reducing that cost, Gambert says his resellers could “sell his shirts at a competitive price, while keeping that ‘Made in America’ label.”

But Gambert doesn’t expect the bill to have it easy on Capitol Hill. He spoke with Senator Menendez and says “partisan politics will be playing a part” in the legislation’s passage. Gambert says Menendez’s colleagues felt the bill was an earmark for the state of New Jersey, but Gambert says that's far from the truth.

“The reality is this is not a New Jersey issue” said Gambert. “There are manufacturers in Tennessee, manufacturers in North Carolina, manufacturers in New York City…It's a national issue.”

Senator Menendez is planning to introduce the legislation next week.