November 19, 2009 Contact: Julia K. Hughes, 202-638-7640
For Immediate Release Laura E. Jones, 212-463-0089

Apparel Importers Laud McDermott Bill To Harmonize, Simplify and Expand Preferences

The U.S. Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel (USA-ITA) today praised the introduction of the New Partnership for Trade Development Act of 2009 by Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA). "The bill recognizes the need to rationalize the many individual U.S. preference programs into a single preference program, and to expand the benefits to products that developing countries make," said Laura Jones, Executive Director of USA-ITA. "It also includes a simplified rule of origin that would be more manageable and userfriendly."

Jones noted that "U.S. preference programs offer an opportunity for U.S. importers and retailers of consumer goods to save duties and therefore pass along savings to U.S. consumers, a particularly important benefit when consumers are feeling uncertain about their futures and closely watching their spending. Unfortunately, the way these programs are currently set up, they are too limited, too complicated, and insufficient to act as a primary motivator for the placement of business."

Jones credited for McDermott for recognizing that "substantial reforms are necessary to ensure that U.S. preference programs serve their development objectives. USA-ITA looks forward to working closely with Congressman McDermott and the Congress over the next months to reform and rationalize U.S. preference programs to make them a more vibrant part of U.S. trade policy to assist both developing countries and American consumers."