NTA fighting on multiple fronts

Carole Sloan, Staff Staff, May 17, 2004

The National Textile Association is moving ahead on multiple fronts to assist American home furnishings textiles producers: flammability regulations, for both furniture and home textiles products; trade issues, especially those concerning China; and intellectual property rights.

Flammability regulations for furniture are at the forefront because of the California process to develop flammability regulations, as well as the federal efforts under the aegis of the Consumer Products Safety Commission.

To support these efforts, NTA has established the Upholstery Fabrics Council to ensure its members are represented clearly in this and a variety of governmental issues, said Karl Spilhaus, NTA president.

Although the council's members also produce a variety of decorative fabrics, this unit is designed specifically to address the upholstery flammability regulations, said Roger Berkley, president and CEO of Weave and chairman of the council.

Other members of the council are American Silk Mills, Craftex, Milliken, Quaker, Sunbury, and Wearbest Sil-tex. NTA, Berkley added, "is a flexible and highly focused group which can serve the needs of the upholstery and decorative fabrics industries."

In addition, remarked Hank Truslow III, CEO of Sunbury and NTA treasurer, NTA offers assistance in intellectual property issues, dumping, and content labeling.

In January, NTA brought Hardy Poole — former vice president, product services and corporate secretary of the former American Textile Manufacturers Association — on as a staff member to provide support for the upholstery and bed and bath sectors of the industry.

NTA also is actively involved in the issues of dumping of roll goods of fabrics, cut-and-sew parts and finished products from China, Spilhaus said. "NTA's considerable experience will be brought to bear on these issues as well," he added.

On the intellectual property issue, Spilhaus noted, "An association survey of textile manufacturers revealed substantial losses due to international IP piracy and widespread concern that the U.S. is not doing enough to protect the designs, patents and trademarks of American companies, as we open our markets to more and more imports from China and other sources. NTA has prepared a white paper to the U.S. Department of Commerce on the growing threat of IP violations in the textile industry."

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