Paul T. O’Day, president & counsel American Fiber Manufacturers Association passed away

Paul T. O’Day
Paul T. O’Day

The American Fiber Manufacturers Association (AFMA) is saddened to announce that long-time President Paul T. O’Day passed away on June 1st, 2017.

“This is a very difficult day for the entire AFMA family. Paul was not only a great man, but he was also a friend and confidante to so many of us in the industry,” stated Mark J. Ruday, current AFMA chairman. “As he would have wanted, Paul’s legacy and dedication to the fiber industry will live on through the continuation of the Paul T. O’Day Scholarship fund, which was set up three years ago to help students pursue a degree in a fiber related field.”

O’Day was appointed President of the Association in 1984. He was fiercely dedicated to the industry he loved for 33 years. A true gentleman and powerful intellect, Paul O’Day led the Association with a sophisticated wit and charm.

His government service included appointments as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Trade Development, Executive Assistant to the Secretary, and other senior positions in the Commerce Department and the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

O’Day led the initial implementation of the multi-fiber arrangement (MFA), the international agreement which imposed quotas or quantity limits on Textiles and Clothing from Developing Countries, in force from 1974 until 2004. He played a key role in the creation of OTEXA, the Office of Textiles and Apparel, to monitor the MFA agreements, and the creation of the Committee for Implementation of Textile Agreements, comprised of representatives from Commerce, USTR, and OTEXA to insure administration and compliance of Bilateral Agreements.

He was key negotiator on Bilateral Agreements with Developing Countries under the auspice of the MFA ensuring realistic quota outcomes on sensitive items and was lead negotiator for fibers and yarns in the Uruguay Round, the most ambitious multilateral trade agreement in history, calling for elimination of all textile and apparel quotas by January 2004. O’Day was a lead negotiator in textiles and clothing in the NAFTA agreement, the first Free Trade Agreement with phase out of tariffs among partners, and was responsible for establishing a Yarn Forward Rule of Origin which became standard for all subsequent FTA agreements.

After a 50% plus decline in fiber and filament yarn production volume resulting from MFA phase out, O’Day redirected the mission of AFMA and added an Associate Member base of organizations with a significant commercial relationship to the sector and a new High Performance Fiber Council. AFMA membership grew from 15 members in early 1980s to 43 in 2017.