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NTA files objection to 24 duty suspension bills
08
Dec '09
On December 4th the National Textile Association filed public comments with the Senate Finance Committee in opposition to 24 duty suspension or related bills that were being considered for inclusion in a Miscellaneous Tariff Bill.

In the case of the bill S.1981 to provide for the liquidation or reliquidation, at the rate of zero percent, of certain line items in entries of tailored garments from Costa Rica. NTA objected because the bill seeks duty relief on the entry of these garments due to the fact that they did not qualify for tariff free treatment under the terms of CAFTA.

These products were obviously denied CAFTA duty preferences because they are made from fabrics that were formed outside of the CAFTA region. There are major U.S manufacturers of the very fabrics that are used in these types of garments. Production facilities for these fabrics are located in a number of states including Connecticut, North Carolina and Oregon. If the U.S. government provides duty rebates for garments made in Costa Rica from fabrics formed outside of the CAFTA region, these U.S. manufacturers and their workers will suffer.

The CAFTA is very specific in that it requires garments of this type to be constructed of fabrics that were either formed in the United States or in one of the other CAFTA countries. This requirement is critical to U.S. and Central American fabric makers. The elimination of this fabric requirement would severely undermine any potential benefits for fabric producers in this region. Instead passage of the bill would allow for fabric to be manufactured in China or India, shipped to Central America for simple assembly and then exported duty free to the United States.

In addition, we believe that S.1981 violates the basic prerequisites for consideration under the MTB process. The bill seeks to eliminate tariffs on entries from Costa Rica retroactively. Finance committee guidelines for the MTB process prohibit such bills. Moreover, while the bill did not provide duty payment data for entries listed in the bill, we assume that the monetary loss to the U.S. Treasury would far exceed the normal $500,000 benchmark established for bills under the miscellaneous tariff process.

For three bills -- S.2053 duty suspension relating to women's sports bras of stretch fabric with textile or polymer-based electrodes knit into or attached to the fabric and that incorporate connectors designed to secure an electronic transmitter that transmits physiological information from the electrodes to a compatible monitor, S.2054 relating to knit tank tops of stretch fabric with textile or polymer-based electrodes knit into or attached to the fabric and that incorporate connectors designed to secure an electronic transmitter that transmits physiological information from the electrodes to a compatible monitor, and S.2058 duty suspension relating to knit garments of stretch fabric with textile or polymer-based electrodes knit into or attached to the fabric and that incorporate connectors designed to secure an electronic transmitter that transmits physiological information from the electrodes to a compatible monitor -- NTA objected bacause these products are made of fabric of the type manufactured in the United States by member companies of NTA who would be harmed by this duty suspension. Further, a significant portion of the domestic U.S. production of this fabric is for export to our preference or free trade partners for assembly and re-importation, with the result that this bill would likely weaken our existing regional preference and free trade arrangements.

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