EXIM Chairman Reed Visits Interstate Narrow Fabrics to Present Exporter of the Year Award

November 9, 2020

(Ex-Im Bank) North Carolina Textile Industry Small Business Manufacturer Utilizes EXIM Export Credit Insurance to Expand International Sales, Swiftly Turned to Producing Face Mask Elastics at Start of COVID-19

HAW RIVER, North Carolina — Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) President and Chairman Kimberly A. Reed last week presented an Exporter of the Year award to Interstate Narrow Fabrics, Inc. (link is external), a textile industry small business with 75 employees that manufactures narrow fabrics, and toured the company’s production facilities in Haw River, North Carolina.

This family-owned company, which has used EXIM’s export credit insurance to support its international sales since 2009, was honored virtually during EXIM’s 2020 Annual Conference in September and has been producing high-quality woven and knitted products in Alamance County, North Carolina, for 35 years. Interstate Narrow Fabrics manufactures a wide variety of items including elastics, tapes, cords, straps, and webbings which are used in industries ranging from apparel to medical to automotive, including well-known consumer brands.

Many of Interstate Narrow Fabrics’ exports are incorporated into medical garments like compression stockings for patient use. When COVID-19 struck earlier this year and the need for personal protective equipment (PPE) became apparent, the company swiftly adapted to increase its production of face mask elastics and medical gown tapes, with staff working through the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to support the nation’s PPE supply chain. EXIM’s Charter includes a Congressional mandate to support the U.S. textile industry and manufacturers of textile components and inputs such as Interstate Narrow Fabrics.

“Interstate Narrow Fabrics — a 75-employee family-owned small business American success story — is a great example of how EXIM helps small businesses and the American textile industry succeed in the global marketplace, and I am proud to recognize this inspiring company as a 2020 EXIM Exporter of the Year,” said Chairman Reed. “Over the past seven years, this company has seen growth in medical industry elastic exports and now 10 percent of its business is overseas. And, when COVID-19 first struck our country, this company swiftly turned to making the elastics for face masks — at one point enough for 3.2 million masks per week. I also learned that Interstate Narrow Fabrics — for the first time in the company’s 35-year history — provided yearly raises to all of its hourly employees for the past three years because of the Trump Administration’s economic policies. They also are now looking to hire six new employees.”

During the recession of 2009, Interstate Narrow Fabrics turned to EXIM’s export credit insurance to cover its international accounts, which allowed the company to maintain established accounts and expand international sales despite the financially uncertain times. Over the years, the company has continued to grow its export business, which has provided new jobs for several employees. Since 2014, EXIM has supported exports to markets including Mexico, Canada, Dominican Republic, and Sri Lanka. The company’s policies are facilitated by EXIM broker Global Business Solutions of Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

“EXIM has given us the ability to grow our export business to where it is today. With the peace of mind of having EXIM’s support, Interstate Narrow Fabrics can focus on growing its business,” said Anthony Vailati, Vice President and Sales Manager of Interstate Narrow Fabrics. “We sell products manufactured here in the USA to many countries on at least five continents, and exports account for approximately 10 percent of our business. We could not have achieved this without the help of EXIM.”

Chairman Reed and the Interstate Narrow Fabrics team also discussed the future of the U.S. textile industry and the need for a trained American workforce. Expanded apprenticeship programs (link is external) can train and provide opportunities for American workers, as a skilled workforce is needed more than ever as companies reopen and expand, startups are launched, and our economy continues to rebound.

Since 2014, EXIM has supported exports valued at $2 billion from 147 companies — including 123 small businesses like Interstate Narrow Fabrics — across North Carolina. Approximately 90 percent of EXIM authorizations directly support small businesses.

U.S. companies, particularly small businesses, can utilize EXIM’s financing tools and resources to increase their international sales, showcase their “Made in the USA” products, and sustain American jobs. By partnering with EXIM, exporters can mitigate the risk of nonpayment on international sales, offer credit terms to foreign buyers, and access working capital loan guarantees. In addition, EXIM has implemented several COVID-19 (coronavirus) relief measures for U.S. exporters and financial institutions to enhance the agency’s existing programs.

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