During the December 2012 Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks in Auckland, New Zealand—which the United States Fashion Industry Association, formerly USA-ITA, and a number of member companies participated in—the U.S. made a new proposal for benefits for textiles and apparel. The U.S. negotiators met with several apparel brands and retailers and made a detailed presentation about their new approach to "short supply" in TPP.
In brief, the new U.S. proposal is to create two short-supply lists: one for permanent benefits, and one for temporary benefits. Unlike the short-supply provisions in other U.S. Free Trade Agreements, the TPP concept is intended to be a simpler approach that will provide preferential market access from day one of the agreement. In short, this approach will be:
- Logical, and
The Administration encourages industry to take different approaches to submissions than those from any previous short supply program, but emphasizes that accepted products will generally be those that are not “commercially available” in TPP-member countries.
The United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) welcomes the Administration’s proposal and looks forward to continuing discussions about ensuring a flexible, liberal, 21st-century Rule of Origin for textiles and apparel in the TPP agreement.
USFIA encourages members, and all importers of textiles and apparel, to think about those products you import and sell that could potentially meet the Administration’s criteria. While we don’t have a solid definition of “commercially available,” some of the factors that you should definitely consider include: quantity used, fabric/yarn specifications, performance requirements, price, shipping time/cost, and available suppliers.
On January 4th, the United States Association of Importers of Textiles & Apparel (USA-ITA), now USFIA, and the TPP Apparel Coalition hosted a webinar with today Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Gail Strickler and Commerce Department Deputy Assistant Secretary for Textiles and Apparel Kim Glas, who explained the Administration’s approach to the TPP short-supply lists.
USFIA has been working with members to submit as many products as possible for consideration. The TPP Apparel Coalition has developed a template that companies may use to request items for the short-supply lists that the United States has proposed for the TPP apparel provision. You may either submit your suggestions individually, or you may submit them to USFIA, and we will send them to USTR and Commerce. If you choose to submit them individually, we would appreciate if you would copy us, as well. We will keep confidential the information submitted by USFIA members but this information will assist us to consolidate requests for specific fibers, yarns, fabrics, and consumer products.
USFIA has also participated in a number of events, both with USTR and without, to explain the proposal. USFIA moderated a seminar at SOURCING at MAGIC on February 20, 2013, in Las Vegas, which featured Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Textiles Gail Strickler explaining the proposal and answering companies’ questions. USFIA also discussed the proposal with members at the West Coast Seminar on February 21, 2013, in San Francisco, and during a webinar on March 21, 2013.
USFIA continues to engage in dialogue with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and Hill offices about the importance of a flexible, liberal, 21st-century Rule of Origin for textiles and apparel, whether that comes via a short-supply list or some other component of the final agreement.