Apparel & Footwear Association Releases Statement of Support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership
AAFA says TPP will bring opportunities; urges Administration and Congress to work together for timely approval, seamless implementation
(Washington, D.C.) – The American Apparel & Footwear Association, a trade association representing more than 1,000 brands with members from across the entire fashion supply chain, today released the following statement in support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership:
“With the TPP covering 40 percent of the world’s GDP and reaching approximately 800 million consumers, the trade pact represents significant opportunities for the clothing, shoe, and accessories industry. For this reason, and after consultation with our members, we are expressing our strong support for the TPP.
“The U.S. apparel, footwear, and accessories industry is a global industry in which nearly every U.S. job in our business depends on access to foreign customers or global supply chains, or both. The TPP will provide opportunities to reduce costs, stay competitive, and enter new markets.
“Benefits of the TPP will materialize more quickly in the case of travel goods (items such as handbags, backpacks, and laptop cases) and footwear, which feature more flexible rules of origin and immediate duty-free treatment for a wide range of products. While there are some immediate opportunities for apparel, most apparel articles are constrained by extremely restrictive rules of origin and long duty phase-outs, meaning benefits will take longer to realize.
“A more accelerated and flexible approach for apparel and legwear would have created more immediate benefits and export opportunities for domestic manufacturers.
“We are hopeful companies can take advantage of the benefits over time as they adapt their supply chains, new investments occur, trade patterns shift, and other countries join the TPP.
“We urge the Administration to work with Congress to build support for timely Congressional consideration and approval of TPP, and to ensure that the agreement is implemented in a clear and seamless manner.
“It is also critical that the TPP work in alignment with future and existing free trade agreements. As TPP is considered and implemented, we urge policymakers to ensure that current free trade agreements are kept up-to-date, and that future trade agreements include provisions that enable our members to take full advantage of them.”
The U.S. apparel, footwear, and accessories industry employs more than four million U.S. workers, and represents more than $360 billion in U.S. retail sales.