Seven fashion and retail trade organisations in the US and Africa, including the United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA), have called for immediate renewal of the African Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA), which is scheduled to expire on September 30, 2015, the USFIA said in a statement.
The organisations also called for long-term renewal of the programme for at least 10 years—including the third-country fabric provision—and extension of the third-country fabric provision to all AGOA beneficiaries.
“AGOA not only allows US companies to produce quality, affordable apparel for their customers, but also provides much-needed jobs and economic opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa,” said Julia K Hughes, president of USFIA.
“However, those opportunities are at stake as the expiration date looms,” she added. “Our members have told us that they want to continue sourcing from the AGOA region, and even place more orders. But without duty-free treatment, sourcing apparel from the region is cost-prohibitive. Since companies plan their sourcing at least 6-12 months in advance, many companies are planning their final orders from the AGOA region, or have already left, because they cannot afford the cost increase that would result if AGOA is not renewed in time.”
“We are grateful that the US Senate approved AGOA, and we hope the US House will quickly follow suit so companies can continue to place orders in the region and make plans for future investment over the next 10 years,” Hughes concluded.
In addition to USFIA, the signatories of the statement included the African Cotton and Textile Industries Federation (ACTIF), the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) and the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA) among others. (SH)
Fibre2fashion News Desk - India