The letter calls for strong textile rules, including the “Yarn Forward” rule of origin and long tariff phase-outs for sensitive products to be included in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement currently being negotiated by the United States and 11 other nations. Support for the strong textile provisions has more than doubled since 2012 when 76 House members signed a similar letter.
“NCTO is grateful for the leadership of Representatives McHenry, Coble, Pascrell and 164 of their peers in Congress who today stand in strong support of the more than 500,000 workers in the overall textile sector in the United States,” said NCTO President Cass Johnson.
“The breadth of support for this letter indicates that members of Congress are concerned not only about the impact of textile rules on U.S. producers and workers but also of the impact on trade preference countries in the Western Hemisphere and Africa that depend on exports of apparel to the United States for badly needed employment and foreign exchange."
The strongly bi-partisan letter had widespread regional diversity with members of Congress from 34 states. In addition, ten members from the House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over trade issues, signed the agreement.
Strong textile rules have made existing free trade agreements successful and mutually beneficial to all participants, helping to spur more than $25 billion in two-way textile and apparel trade annually between the United States and its FTA partners.
“There are two million jobs in the textile and apparel supply chains in the Western Hemisphere and Africa that are dependent upon the trade principles enshrined in strong enforcement of a ‘Yarn Forward’ rule of origin. It is critical that the TPP maintains and enforces this and other important provisions to ensure that free trade is also fair trade.”
The letter notes that, “The yarn forward rule has been a success because it ensures that only textile and apparel manufacturers within a particular free trade region, such as the proposed TPP, get the benefits from the agreement. Vietnam is seeking to replace this proven rule with a new one that would allow its state-owned industry to flood the U.S. market using subsidized Chinese inputs.” The Congressional letter supports the U.S. government position which has been in favor of strong textile rules.
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