WWD Issue 12/16/2010

By Kristi Ellis

...“We’re thrilled the House passed an extension of both the GSP and Andean programs although we wish it had been a longer extension,” said Julia Hughes, president of the U.S. Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel. “We hope there is an extension so we don’t have an expiration of the benefits and have to try to get retroactive benefits. Every time that happens, the trade preference programs lose business because companies can’t deal with the uncertainty.”

Hughes noted that apparel imports from all four Andean countries—Colombia, Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador—totaled $917 million in the past 12 months for the year ending Oct.31, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. Peru and Colombia rank in the top 30 apparel suppliers to the U.S.

But she said there is some concern in the industry that Peru was dropped as a beneficiary country from the program in the legislation, which means companies making apparel in Peru will no longer have the ability to use inputs from the other three Andean countries of Colombia, Bolivia and Ecuador...

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