A new global coalition of fiber, textile and apparel groups wrote to Ambassador Kirk of the US Trade Representative’s office urging that the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations include pro-job, pro-private industry and pro-export rules in the ongoing textile talks in the final TPP agreement.
The new group – the Textile and Apparel Alliance for TPP (TAAT) – represents nearly two million agricultural and manufacturing workers from 30 countries and a supply chain that exports $25 billion in two way textile and apparel trade each year. The U.S.-based TAAT members include: the American Fiber Manufacturers Assoc., the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition, the NCC, the National Council of Textile Organizations, the National Textile Assoc. and the United States Industrial Fabrics Institute.
The Alliance has been formed because “one TPP partner country – Vietnam – is demanding new rules on textiles that would put our jobs, our factories and our exports in jeopardy.”
The Alliance explained that “Vietnam is asking for country-of-origin rules for textiles that would uniquely benefit Vietnam and which are far weaker than the long standing origin rules in our existing U.S. free trade agreements (FTAs) and preference arrangements. These rules would provide Vietnam‘s state-owned apparel manufacturers with direct access to China’s massive state-run textile enterprises to create apparel and other products that would then be duty-free into all other TPP countries – something never imagined in any previous FTA.”
The Alliance warns that Vietnam’s proposal would mean “thousands of privately held manufacturing plants in our countries would be forced to close and hundreds of thousands of our workers would lose their jobs.”
The Alliance praised the Obama Administration for instead supporting TPP rules, including the “yarn forward rule,” that have created nearly two million jobs over the past 30 years – including hundreds of thousands of agricultural and manufacturing jobs in the United States.
Over the last three years, exports from Alliance members to the United States have grown by $2.7 billion.