AAFA President Urges Congressional Action on Critical Trade Programs

1/8/2015
In a letter dated Jan. 7, the American Apparel and Footwear Association urged congressmen Paul Ryan and Orrin Hatch, chairmen of the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees, respectively, to take legislative action to benefit the domestic apparel industry. 

"Dear Chairman Ryan and Chairman Hatch:

As the new Chairs of the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees, respectively, you now have an historic opportunity to expand US trade. On behalf of the members of the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA), who make and sell clothes and shoes around the world, I welcome your recent remarks and your commitment to trade expansion.

With this in mind, we urge immediate enactment of legislation to renew expired and expiring trade programs, such as the Generalized System of Preferences, the African Growth and Opportunity Act, and the Nicaragua Tariff Preference Level. Not only do lapses in these programs destroy U.S. jobs and impose costs on U.S. businesses, including many AAFA members, but they also cast doubt into U.S. leadership on trade. Indeed, during a review of U.S. trade policy at the World Trade Organization last month, these concerns were cited by a number of our trading partners. AAFA members need these provisions in order to make rational and predictable sourcing decisions on materials and components – a complicated global process that occurs years in advance of actual manufacture.

Early action on this smaller trade package will support trade-based jobs in the United States and will signal immediate re-engagement to our trading partners. Bipartisan support for this trade package will also pave the way for swift action on more far-reaching Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which is necessary to conclude on-going negotiations with key trade partners in Europe and the Pacific Rim. At a time when other nations are rapidly forging special trade deals with each other or erecting new barriers to keep out U.S-made and U.S.-branded products, we cannot afford to remain without this crucial authority.

We look forward to working with you to help achieve these important wins for the U.S. economy.

Sincerely,

Juanita D. Duggan
President & CEO, AAFA"
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