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Textile manufacturers decry new preferential apparel trade bill
Jun '09
Two US Senators have introduced a bill that provides trade relief for apparel and textiles imported from fourteen of the world's poorest nations. It is intended to help some of these impoverished nations sustain vital export industries and promote economic growth and political stability in their respective countries.

Specifically, the bill would provide duty free status to textiles and apparels imported from 14 Least Developed Countries (LDCs), as defined by the United Nations and the U.S. State Department. These impoverished nations are not covered by any current U.S. trade preference program, and currently face some of the steepest U.S. import tariffs, averaging over 15 percent.

The 14 beneficiary countries designated by this bill include: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Kiribati, Laos, Maldives, Nepal, Samoa, Sri Lanka Solomon Islands, East Timor, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Yemen. The impact on the United States will be minimal. Beneficiary countries under this bill account for only 4 percent of the U.S. textile and apparel market.

“This legislation would help to create more jobs, raise living standards, and promote economic and political stability in some of the world's poorest countries,” Senator Feinstein said. “Currently, these 14 nations face some of the highest U.S. tariffs in the world, averaging over 15 percent. This bill would help correct this trade inequality and help promote greater economic opportunity where it is most needed – at little cost to U.S. manufacturers.”

“This bill will help create jobs, alternatives to extremism, and political stability in some of the world's poorest countries,” said Bond. “The war against terrorism will not be won with military might alone, we also need to deploy 'smart power' efforts and this bipartisan bill is a good step.”

Textile trade bodies as well as manufacturers are deeply concerned about this bill stability, and say it will undercut existing preferential trade agreements and cost American jobs. The fourteen countries have the freedom to purchase raw materials from any where in the world for a period of eight years.

The US textile manufacturers consider that Chinese, Indian and other manufacturers will use this as a back door entry in to the markets of the US and will also weaken each and every preferential trade agreements the US has signed like AGOA, CAFTA and many other single country agreements like with Mexico and Canada.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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