Specialty Fabrics Review March 2021 - 44

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manufacturing. We hadn't needed one.
The supply chain on these products
had developed so efficiently that there
was no need for second sources. It
was a 7,000-mile pipeline that worked
flawlessly, and inventories were not
necessary because ships were on the
sea at all times. "
By now the entire textile industry
is all too aware of what happened.
" We did not have a national stockpile, "
Rousse says. " And then the pandemic
hit, and all hell broke loose. "
Since then, according to Rousse,
34 melt-blown machines have been put
into operation in the U.S. " We believe
that by the end of the second quarter
of 2021, we will be self-sufficient in
melt-blown and have other materials
available so we won't need to go to
Asia-but we probably will because
prices are so low. "

Textile manufacturing had an unpredictable year in 2020, but most industry insiders are
cautiously optimistic for 2021. " But it's a long road ahead, " says Kimberly Glas, president
and CEO of the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) in Washington. D.C.
Photo: The Nonwovens Institute, North Carolina State University.

42 SPECIALTY FABRICS REVIEW / March 2021

Jackson says that there's been a
concerted effort on the part of the
industry and the government to
address the need to be less reliant on
PPE imports. " But it's not something
that can be done overnight, " he adds.
Given what's happened in the past
year, says Rousse, it makes sense that
while a price differential continues
to exist, " we want to focus on
American products to ensure supply
for when another situation creates
a supply shock of some kind. There
are initiatives moving in Washington
that started within the Trump
administration that should follow
through with the Biden administration,
because no matter who is in charge,
these things make sense. It's just a
matter of how you get things done in
Congress these days. It so often takes
a crisis before anything gets done. "
CHANGES IN WASHINGTON
And of course, there is a new
Congress-and a new president in
the White House-which creates a
level of uncertainty for any industry.
That's especially true when a new
party comes into power.
" Any time there is a change in
administration, you're feeling your
way about some of the key policy
priorities, " says Glas. " We want to
make sure our industry stays at the
forefront, but the issues we advocate
for are very consistent no matter who
is in the White House or leading the
various agencies. Biden has made
onshoring of critical supply chain
items a critical part of his agenda,
and I think it has strong bipartisan
support on Capitol Hill. "
" We hope some sense of normal
order in Washington gets restored, "
says Rousse. " There's a lot of work
to do, promoting a 'buy American'
approach to PPE similar to the way


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Specialty Fabrics Review March 2021

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