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NRF welcomes Bill Extending Trade Preferences Program
20
Nov '09
The National Retail Federation welcomed legislation that would extend the nation's largest duty-free trade preference program for 10 years and allow textiles, apparel and footwear to be included for the first time.

“Extending the Generalized System of Preferences for 10 years would give retailers the stability they need when making long-term business decisions and ensure that U.S. consumers can continue to buy the affordable products they're looking for in today's economic climate,” NRF Vice President and International Trade Counsel Erik Autor said. “Adding clothing and shoes to the list of products that receive duty-free treatment is important because these are goods that are in high demand here at home and which the countries that participate in this program are capable of making. Including these products in GSP would be a major step forward both for U.S. consumers and for promoting economic development and job creation in the world's poorest countries. This bill will help move forward the debate in Congress on improving our system of trade preferences.”

H.R. 4101, the New Partnership for Trade Development Act of 2009, was introduced on Wednesday by Representative Jim McDermott, D-Wash., a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee's Trade Subcommittee.

The bill would reauthorize the Generalized System of Preferences for 10 years after it expires on December 31, and expand the list of products eligible for tariff-free treatment under the program by including textiles, apparel and footwear. The measure would also expand benefits for poor countries outside sub-Saharan Africa under the African Growth and Opportunity Act by providing more liberal rules on how products quality for preferential treatment.

Introduction of the bill came a day after the subcommittee held a hearing on the nation's trade preferences programs, and NRF submitted written testimony asking that they be renewed and expanded because the demand for affordable goods has increased during the current recession. The programs have frequently been renewed for as little as a year or two at a time, but NRF asked that they be given permanent or extended authorization in order to make long-term planning easier.

The United States has six trade preference programs that offer duty-free treatment or reduced duties on specified lists of imports from developing countries in Central America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia, each with its own specific rules.

National Retail Federation

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