For Immediate Release
WASHINGTON – The United States Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel (USA-ITA) applauds the United States Congress for passing legislation today to renew the African Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA) third-country fabric benefit and enact the technical “fixes” to the Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) textile and apparel rules of origin.
“U.S. apparel brands and retailers are thrilled that Congress has finally renewed the AGOA third-country fabric benefit and enacted the CAFTA-DR technical fixes,” says Julia K. Hughes, President of USA-ITA. “These two provisions will help create and maintain jobs in the apparel industry both in the United States, as well as in our trading partner countries, especially in Africa,” she adds.
The AGOA third-country fabric benefit, which allows AGOA-eligible apparel manufacturers to use third-country fabric not commercially available in AGOA countries and still get duty-free treatment in the United States, accounts for over 95 percent of apparel trade under AGOA. This apparel trade not only creates critical jobs in Africa, but also allows U.S. apparel brands and retailers to create critical jobs at home in areas such as design, logistics, sourcing, merchandising, marketing, and retail, to name a few.
The CAFTA-DR “fixes” are non-controversial technical corrections and modifications to the textile and apparel rules of origin, and include clarifications on duty-free eligibility for certain types of thread, fabric, and apparel, as well as increases in the cumulation levels.
“The AGOA third-country fabric benefit and the CAFTA-DR fixes will not only help U.S. brands and retailers create needed jobs at home, but will also better enable these companies to provide high-quality, yet affordable, apparel to American families,” concludes Hughes.
The United States Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel (USA-ITA) was established in January 1989 by nine companies with a vision to create a unified voice for textile and apparel importers across the country. USA-ITA provides education, information, and advocacy to executives active in textile and apparel sourcing, importing, compliance, and logistics. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., USA-ITA represents the needs of American retailers, brands and importers, as well as related service providers, with the objective to remove barriers to business and to trade.