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Textile Production Moving from China Back to United States



(p. A1) INDIAN LAND, S.C. -- Twenty-five years ago, Ni Meijuan earned $19 a month working the spinning machines at a vast textile factory in the Chinese city of Hangzhou.

Now at the Keer Group's cotton mill in South Carolina, which opened in March, Ms. Ni is training American workers to do the job she used to do.

"They're quick learners," Ms. Ni said after showing two fresh recruits how to tease errant wisps of cotton from the machines' grinding gears. "But they have to learn to be quicker."

Once the epitome of cheap mass manufacturing, textile producers from formerly low-cost nations are starting to set up shop in America. It is part of a blurring of once seemingly clear-cut boundaries between high- and low-cost manufacturing nations that few would have predicted a decade ago.

Textile production in China is becoming increasingly unprofitable after years of rising wages, higher energy bills and mounting logistical costs, as well as new government quotas on the import of cotton.

At the same time, manufacturing costs in the United States are becoming more competitive.


. . .


(p. A3) Ms. Ni, one of 15 Chinese trainers at Keer's Indian Land plant, complained softly of American workers' occasional tardiness. In China, she said, managers can dock the pay of workers who show up late. But here, she said, she felt frustrated that she could not discipline tardy staff.



For the full story, see:

HIROKO TABUCHI. "Chinese Textile Mills Are Now Hiring in Places Where Cotton Was King." The New York Times (Mon., AUG. 3, 2015): A1 & A3.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date AUG. 2, 2015, and has the title "Chinese Textile Mills Are Now Hiring in Places Where Cotton Was King.")






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