Milliken & Co., Spartanburg, S.C., recently announced it will begin an orderly closing of its Gaffney manufacturing plant in late June. The plant closing is attributed to foreign imports, which the company says continue to flood textile and apparel markets. About 190 employees will be affected, but the company will offer job placement at the company's eight other facilities in the area. Milliken cites figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics which reveal that since NAFTA passed in 1993, the U.S. textile industry has lost 134,000 jobs and the U. S. apparel industry has lost 319,000 jobs, for a combined total of 453,000 jobs lost in the textile and apparel industries. "Despite continued investment in the most modern, state-of-the-art manufacturing and plant equipment, we have been unable to offset the impact of textile imports from Asia," says Richard Dillard, Milliken's Director of Public Affairs. "Our competitors there pay only 40 cents per hour and can employ 20 people for less cost than we can employ one here in the U.S." The last day of operation at the Gaffney Plant has not been finalized, but will occur before year-end. Milliken & Co. is a leading international textile and chemical firm. It is one of the world's largest privately held companies and employs more than 16,000 employees in over 60 manufacturing facilities.