July 15, 2003
ASI Participates in International Wool Textile Congress
American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) representatives attended the 72nd International Wool Textile Organization Annual Congress in Argentina May 9-13, 2003, where more than 200 international wool fabric manufacturers, spinners, first-stage processors, traders and producers discussed wool industry issues and prospects.
Wool fabric and yarn conditions were reported to be very soft due to the fact that China, the wool industry giant, currently is not active in the wool market. There is also substantial concern about lower wool production -- despite Australia?s projection of a small production increase during the next year.
For U.S. representatives, the reduction in the value of the U.S. dollar has improved the marketability of American wool in the global arena. General conversation at the Congress portrayed a feeling that the market will improve once the SARS concern is eliminated and China is once again able to participate in the world wool market.
Another positive note for American industries is that world markets have been educated about U.S. wool, which has resulted in a heightened level of interest and an encouraging increase in demand for quality U.S. wools. Other topics of discussion included the presence of polypropylene and colored fibers in U.S. wools.
House Committee Urges Strengthening of Berry Amendment
The House Armed Services Committee has approved legislation to maintain and strengthen various domestic source laws, including the Berry Amendment?s ?Buy American? requirements, for military purchases of textiles and certain other products.
According to information released by the committee, ?The ongoing war on terrorism dictates the need to have reliable domestic sources of weapons and equipment.? The committee also added a number of provisions to the bill to further strengthen this base: Expanding the list of items the defense Department is required to purchase from domestic sources; limiting the authority of the Secretary of Defense to waive this requirement; and establishing a $100 million Defense Industrial Base Capabilities Fund to help produce certain critical items.
The Textile Trends, a report for American Textile Manufacturer?s Institute (ATMI) members reported, ?Contrary to preliminary reports from Senate sources, the Senate Armed Services Committee has approved a version of the Defense Authorization Bill that would allow exceptions to the Berry Amendment for contingency operations and other urgent situations, and provide that the Berry Amendment does not apply to procurements of waste and by-products of cotton and wool fiber for use in the production of propellants and explosives.?
ATMI strongly supports the Berry Amendment and the House Committee?s efforts to strengthen this important ?Buy American? law. The American Sheep Industry Association also has policy supporting the Berry Amendment.
Wool Loan and LDP Reminder
Producers, be reminded, if you are planning to apply for a wool marketing assistance loan or a loan deficiency payment (LDP), you must make application with your local FSA office before you loose beneficial interest of your wool.
The rules for this program state that beneficial interest is lost when the wool is delivered to a wool pool or is sold.
Each Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) posts rates used to determine the loan repayment rates for marketing assistance loans and to calculate loan deficiency payments. These rates become effective at midnight on Tuesday evening for the following week.
?Wool pick-up dates for many wool pools occur this time of year so this is a timely reminder for growers and pool officials to ensure a visit to the County FSA office ahead of time to apply for the LDP,? stated American Sheep Industry Association President Guy Flora.