The Asia-South Pacific Trade Preferences Act (S.1443) is a bill that would provide duty-free, quota-free benefits to 13 of the world’s least-developed countries (LDCs) in Asia and the South Pacific, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, East Timor, Maldives, and Nepal. U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced the bill on July 28th, 2011, and it has been referred to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. During the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings in Hawaii in November 2011, Senator Feinstein urged Congress to expand trade benefits for these LDCs. “We should help these countries help themselves by opening the U.S. market to their exports as we have done for other developing countries in the past,” she said in a statement.
On February 28, 2013, Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced the Asia-South Pacific Trade Preferences Act of 2013 and it was sent to the Senate Finance Committee for review.
The United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA), formerly the United States Association of Importers of Textiles & Apparel (USA-ITA), is a strong supporter of removing barriers to trade, and specifically supports the Asia-South Pacific Trade Preferences Act because it would address current gaps in U.S. trade preference programs and create a foundation for sustainable trade partnerships with some of the poorest developing countries.
On February 17, 2012, USA-ITA (now USFIA) joined fellow apparel and retail associations in sending a letter to Senator Feinstein expressing support for the bill and urging her to advance it in Congress.
On February 28 2012, Senator Feinstein circulated the letter with a “Dear Colleague” letter urging her colleagues to co-sponsor the bill, available here.