Washington, D.C. – David M. Spooner, Washington Trade Counsel for the United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) and former Chief Textile and Apparel Negotiator at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), testified today on the modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) during the USTR hearing at the U.S. International Trade Commission.

“A well-functioning Western Hemisphere supply chain is vital to maintain American jobs at home, as well as employment in the region,” he said. “Any efforts to make it more difficult to source apparel from both Mexico and Canada will encourage sourcing from other parts of the world, and will reduce employment in the North American apparel supply chain.”

Spooner, who negotiated the textile and apparel provisions of 10 U.S. Free Trade Agreements while at USTR, emphasized the need to maintain the current global value chains in the Western Hemisphere.

“While NAFTA needs updating, the agreement has become an integral part of many supply chains, and uncertainty about the future of the agreement hurts American companies. Especially considering the major challenges in the retail sector today, this is not the time to disrupt trade for these companies,” he said. “This means that, while the NAFTA rules of origin have been onerous, we ask that you do not make any major revisions to the current regulations. The Rules of Origin, and the limited exceptions to those rules, especially the Tariff Preference Levels (TPLs), are linked and are important parts of USFIA member companies’ supply chains.”

In the testimony, Spooner provided eight recommendations for how NAFTA could be improved. The full testimony is available here.

“The U.S. fashion industry was fortunate to be represented today by David Spooner, who has unparalleled experience in negotiating apparel provisions of free trade agreements, and who understands the delicate balance that exists between the yarn-forward rule of origin and the permanent TPLs and cut-and-sew rules of origin,” said USFIA President Julia K. Hughes. “David and I look forward to working with the Trump Administration and Congress to continue producing affordable American fashion made possible by global trade.”

David M. Spooner is currently partner and co-chair of the International Trade Practice Group at Barnes & Thornburg LLP in Washington, D.C.  Prior to entering private practice, Spooner served as the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Import Administration from 2006 - 2009. Prior to his U.S. Senate confirmation as Assistant Secretary, Spooner served as the Chief Textile and Apparel Negotiator at USTR from 2002 - 2006, where he was a principal negotiator for free trade agreements with Central America, the Dominican Republic, Singapore, Australia, Chile, Panama, Bahrain, Oman, Colombia and Peru, principally negotiating customs enforcement, apparel and textile, origin and safeguard provisions. Spooner’s bio is available here.

ABOUT USFIA: The United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) supports fashion made possible by global trade. USFIA represents the fashion industry: textile and apparel brands, retailers, importers, and wholesalers based in the United States and doing business globally. USFIA works to eliminate the tariff and non-tariff barriers that impede the industry’s ability to trade freely and create economic opportunities in the United States and abroad. For more information on USFIA and our trade policy priorities for 2017 and beyond, visit

CONTACT: Samantha Sault, USFIA Vice President of Communications, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 301-685-5009