USA-ITA expresses support for 21st-century TPP
On December 14, 2011, the United States Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel (USA-ITA) filed a statement for the U.S. House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade hearing on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The hearing was held on the same day.
“USA-ITA and our member companies strongly support the negotiation of an ambitious, flexible, 21st-century TPP trade agreement,” says Julie K. Hughes, President of USA-ITA. “The agreement, however, must emphasize the importance of the global value chain, particularly in the textile and apparel sector,” she adds.
In the statement, USA-ITA says it is time for the U.S. to recognize that the textile and apparel sector does not need special Rules of Origin or special protection in the TPP negotiations. In order for the TPP agreement to be a true 21st-century agreement, it must recognize that U.S. companies manufacture for a global consumer.
“Retail and apparel brands are powerhouses of the U.S. and global economy,” says David Spooner, USA-ITA's Washington Counsel with Squire Sanders & Dempsey. “It is important that the TPP trade agreement foster job growth in this sector, rather than foisting inflexible, outdated textile trade rules that stifle trade and economic growth,” he adds.
To achieve this end, the TPP agreement must contain a flexible Rule of Origin for the majority of products and impost a restrictive yarn-forward Rule of Origin only on those U.S.-manufactured products that need special protection. The yarn-forward Rule of Origin would hinder trade opportunities within the TPP, and consequently hinder job growth in the United States.
USA-ITA is an active participant in the TPP Apparel Coalition, which includes American retailers, apparel brands, apparel manufacturers, and apparel importers. The Coalition has a number of priorities for the TPP agreement, including:
• Integrate textile and apparel products into the Market Access negotiations in the same way as is done with other products.
• Liberalize and simplify the Rule of Origin.
• Implement immediate and reciprocal duty-free treatment for all qualifying products.
• Harmonize and streamline procedures throughout the supply chain (including customs procedures) among all TPP countries and incorporate account-based processing.
• Harmonize the rules and regulations.
• Strengthen intellectual property rights (IPR) protections among all TPP countries.
• Create a “living” agreement.
• The TPP Apparel Coalition also submitted a statement to the House Ways & Means Subcommittee on Trade, which USA-ITA supports.
USA-ITA's member companies represent many of the most-recognized, most-competitive American brands in the world. USA-ITA is committed to negotiating a 21st century TPP agreement because the TPP countries include some of the fastest-growing markets for U.S. exports and U.S. branded apparel products, as well as U.S. yarns, textiles, and other components.