Background

A new partnership between educational institutions in the U.S. and Honduras aims to facilitate the continued reshoring of textile and apparel production to the U.S. and Central America.

A memorandum of understanding between North Carolina State University, Gaston College, and Catawba Valley Community College in the U.S. and Universidad Technologica Centroamericana in Honduras highlights “the need for a skilled, capable, resilient workforce to support a rapidly growing textile industry in the region of the Northern Triangle of Central America.” Between the textile programs offered by Gaston, CVCC, and NC State, which range from certificate-based training to advanced degrees, and the engineering and technical education offered by UNITEC, the MOU states that “these partners have the capability to deliver the training and education necessary” to develop such a workforce.

Toward that end, these institutions have agreed to collaborate in the areas of (1) professional training courses in textiles to be jointly marketed and delivered online and in Honduras, (2) certificate programs for academic credit, (3) associate, bachelor’s, and graduate degree programs in textile-related areas of study, (4) funding for scholarships, fellowships, and internships, and (5) future collaborations outside of textile programs.

The State Department said the MOU will strengthen supply chain security and integration as U.S. companies make significant investments in developing co-production facilities in the region. The National Council of Textile Organizations said there has been “a significant shift in sourcing out of Asia to the U.S. and the region” in recent years, where nearly $1 billion in textile and apparel investment is anticipated this year alone.

Last fall U.S. trade officials met with textile executives to discuss their role in diversifying production in light of concerns about “the unreliability of geographically-extended supply chains and the pervasiveness of forced labor.” Similarly, the Coalition for Economic Partnerships in the Americas has called for “building more resilient supply chains and reducing reliance on China” by liberalizing apparel rules of origin under CAFTA-DR and improving apparel production capacity among partner countries in that agreement.

For more information on this and other trade-related issues affecting textiles and apparel, please contact attorney Elise Shibles at (415) 490-1403 or via email

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