WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), along with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), this week introduced bipartisan legislation to boost jobs in American textile manufacturing by cracking down on illegal imports and other forms of textile import fraud. The Textile Enforcement and Security Act would strengthen trade enforcement on textile and apparel imports and give Customs and Border Protection (CBP) new tools to crack down on fraudulent textiles. Brown met this week with leadership of several textile companies that have a presence in Ohio to discuss the impact of foreign trade on their business.

“We can rebuild our nation’s textile and apparel industry and create jobs by making sure foreign competitors are playing by the same rules,” said Brown. “The textiles industry has the potential to create jobs and boost America’s manufacturing sector. But in order for this industry to remain competitive, we must crack down on customs fraud by putting more trained specialist at our ports. This bill would not only punish those who cheat our trade agreements, it would also provide a boost to small manufacturers and businesses in Ohio and across the country who produce high-quality apparel.”

The Textile Enforcement and Security Act would strengthen trade enforcement of textile and apparel imports by:

  • Requiring seizure of textile and apparel imports if the product’s country of origin is not verified or is falsified;
  • Requiring CBP to use the fines collected from textile and apparel import violations to pay for training of specialists in textile and apparel enforcement;
  • Requiring specific staffing levels at the Textile Enforcement Branch;
  • Requiring CBP to certify that a certain number of import specialists at the 15 largest US ports are trained to prevent textile and apparel import fraud;
  • Requiring the Treasury to publish in the Federal Register the names of persons outside the United States who have violated textile and apparel custom laws; and
  • Requiring CBP and the Department of Commerce to establish an electronic verification system for tracking textile and apparel imports under Free Trade Agreements (FTA).

Brown has led efforts to strengthen the domestic textile industry and make sure the U.S. government buys American textiles and apparel instead of using taxpayer dollars to buy products made overseas. Last year, he introduced the Wear American Act, which would strengthen the American textile supply chain, creating jobs and benefiting local businesses by requiring all textile products purchased by federal agencies to be made in the United States.

Just last week, Brown joined President Obama in Cleveland to announce a $150 million investment in a textiles-focused manufacturing hub – the latest in a series of hubs that are part of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. The National Network for Manufacturing Innovation is the result of a bipartisan bill that Brown authored and passed into law. The Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation (RAMI) Act created the first-ever national network of manufacturing hubs.

Brown also visited Brooklyn, Ohio last week to announce that 160 jobs in textile manufacturing had been saved through a deal he helped broker between Hugo Boss and its buyer, Keystone Tailored Manufacturing LLC. The plant will manufacture Hart Schaffner Marx Suits.