Gregor Avril, the Executive Director of the Association of Industries of Haiti said, “We stand with our free trade partners from around the world in urging the U.S. government to stand firm for the strongest textile rules in the agreement.
These include a yarn forward rule of origin, long tariff phase-outs for sensitive products and strong and effective customs rules and resources.“
Vietnam, the second largest apparel exporter to the United States, has proposed to eliminate the textile rules that have been present in every FTA for the past 25 years.
By changing the textile rules, Vietnam would open up a loophole so that China could backdoor its subsidized textile components through Vietnam and into the United States without paying duties.
Avril stated, “Apparel production in Haiti supports tens of thousands of desperately needed job in Haiti. Since the devastating earthquake, we are proud to have opened new textile and apparel plants and we believe this industry has a bright future in our country.
Moreover, apparel accounts for 90 percent of Haiti’s exports to the United States and earns badly needed foreign exchange for our country. However, if Vietnam’s proposals are included in a final TPP agreement, our bright future is ended and Haiti’s economy will be hit hard because our industry will be devastated.”
TAAT comprises trade groups from 31 countries that have free trade and preference trade programs with the United States. These groups employ more than two million direct workers in the textile and apparel trade and support more than $30 billion in two way trade with the United States.
They are made up of mostly small and medium sized family owned companies. Studies have shown that Vietnam’s proposal would lead to the destruction of most of the textile and apparel production in the Western Hemisphere, Africa and the Middle East. This production has been on the upswing during the last several years.
Vietnam is the second largest apparel exporter to the United States. The largest apparel company in Vietnam is Vinatex, a state-owned and subsidized company that employs more than 500,000 workers.
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