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AAFA hails USTR action on Argentina trade restrictions

24
Aug '12
The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) welcomed action by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to request consultations with Argentina through the World Trade Organization (WTO) due to overly burdensome and non-transparent trade restrictions which harm the U.S. apparel and footwear industry.

“As the U.S. apparel and footwear industry continues to seek out new markets in which to sell world famous U.S. apparel and footwear brands, we have expressed considerable concern over Argentina’s onerous import licensing restrictions,” said AAFA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke.  “I applaud Ambassador Kirk for his leadership in bringing Argentina to account through the WTO in an effort to ensure Argentina plays by the rules of the global trading system.”

Over the last few years, AAFA has grown increasingly concerned with Argentina’s strict import restrictions, local content requirements, and other protectionist measures that have been imposed on apparel, footwear, and textiles.

The import restrictions imposed on apparel, footwear, and textiles by the government of Argentina range from import quotas and non-automatic import licenses (NAILs) to minimum pricing and intentionally slow and thorough processing of imports.  Each industry in Argentina must export precisely as many dollars as they import and products that could be produced locally will not get an import permit at all.  Argentina’s NAILs system, which previously affected only footwear and apparel products, has now been expanded to almost 600 product categories of imports.

These measures not only affect U.S.-branded product trying to enter Argentina, but also exports of U.S.-made product to Argentina. U.S. apparel and textile exports to Argentina equaled $69.8 million for the year-ending June 30, 2012. This is a 34.6% increase since 2008.

Background

Argentina's restrictions have progressively worsened over the last few years.  Fourteen members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Council for Trade in Goods, including the United States, issued a statement emphasizing the need for WTO countries to work together to address mutual concerns such as the “trade-restrictive measures taken by Argentina, which are adversely affecting imports into Argentina from a growing number of WTO Members.” 

The statement specifically points out concerns with the overly broad use of non-automatic import licensing trade balancing requirements as well as requirements for pre-registration and pre-approval of all imports into Argentina.  The statement states that non-automatic licensing agreement is not compatible with WTO rules the way Argentina is using it.

The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) is the national trade association representing apparel, footwear and other sewn products companies, and their suppliers, which competein the global market.  AAFA's mission is to promote and enhance its members' competitiveness, productivity and profitability in the global market by minimizing regulatory, commercial, political, and trade restraints.

American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA)


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