The American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) brought more than two dozen apparel, footwear, and retail executives to Capitol Hill this week to lobby for key international trade policies and programs.
The visits came as part of a three-day series of meetings at which AAFA members identified trade priorities for the coming year.
Those priorities include:
-renewal of an expiring Nicaragua trade program,
-renewal and update of the expired Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program,
-passage of Trade Promotion Authority,
-preservation of the First Sale customs valuation program
-negotiation of pending trade agreements with commercially viable provisions,
-early renewal of the expiring Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA),
-implementation of a global trade facilitation agreement, and
-passage of the expired miscellaneous tariff bill package
"With 98 percent of our footwear produced offshore, 97 percent of our apparel produced offshore, and 95 percent of the people who wear clothes and shoes on the planet living offshore, it is clear that two-way trade liberalization and open markets are key to the 4 million U.S. workers employed by the American apparel and footwear industries. We need Congress and the Administration to get back to work, renew expired and expiring trade programs, and move forward on the U.S. trade agenda" remarked Juanita D. Duggan, President and CEO of AAFA.
During the visits, AAFA members met with home state Senators and Representatives as well as the Senate Finance Committee, the House Ways and Means Committee, and the Congressional leadership.
This week's visit also marked the inaugural advocacy day of the newly formed Legwear Committee, which was created to serve as the single unified voice of the U.S. legwear industry and the 300,000 Americans it employs.