What is in this article?:
- Strong textile rules urged in TPP agreement
- Other countries listed
• Led by Reps. Gowdy (R-S.C.) and Kissell (D-N.C.), the signatories — many from Cotton Belt states — pledged to work with USTR to ensure a positive outcome for the textile and apparel chapter in the negotiations.
Other countries listed
In addition to Vietnam, the TPP agreement also includes Chile, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, Australia, Peru and Malaysia. Vietnam, a non-market economy, exported $7.2 billion in textiles and apparel to the United States in 2011, making it America's second largest supplier of those products.
The Vietnamese government both owns and subsidizes textile and apparel production. Vinatex, Vietnam's state-owned textile and apparel conglomerate, is one of the largest garment producers in the world.
In addition, Vietnam depends on China for much of its yarns and fabrics, importing $4.4 billion of textile components from that country in 2010.
The TAAT coalition includes textile and apparel associations from the United States and 26 other free trade and trade preference countries. Coalition members represent nearly two million workers in the textile, apparel, and fiber production sectors, thousands of privately owned factories, and nearly $25 billion in two-way textile and apparel trade.
The next round of TPP negotiations is scheduled for May 8–18 in Dallas. The NCC, meanwhile, sent a letter to Ambassador Kirk asking him to discuss the cotton contract defaults in Peru and Vietnam during that round. The NCC noted that textile mills in those countries have defaulted on millions of dollars of raw cotton contracts that resulted in severe economic losses for U.S. cotton merchants and marketing cooperatives.
"The U.S. government should carefully consider allowing preferential trade provisions for countries whose corporations willfully ignore commercial commitments," NCC President/CEO Mark Lange said. "Contract sanctity is a fundamental building block of trade relations and widespread disregard of the principle should sound a loud warning to the extension of trade preferences."
Regarding the Congressional Members’ letter to Kirk, Lange noted that the NCC has consistently pursued a yarn forward rule of origin for textile and apparel products. He said this rule was adopted in the several hemispheric trade agreements during the past 15 years. The goal was to stem the losses in the U.S. cotton spinning industry, as textile import quotas were phased out beginning in 1995 and China was granted full accession rights to the World Trade Organization in 2001.
Lange said the yarn forward rule encouraged the formation of textile and apparel manufacturing facilities across Central America and Caribbean regions creating several hundred thousand hemispheric jobs as the U.S. spinning industry adjusted to the onslaught of Chinese products in the US domestic market.
He noted that since 2001, Cotton Council International has successfully promoted the export of U.S. cotton yarns and fabrics through the COTTON USA Sourcing Program. For example, in 2011, the program led to U.S. exports valued at more than $30 million in the Western Hemisphere, where the Sourcing Program and U.S. industry participants have benefited from proximity and FTAs.
"The U.S. and hemispheric textile and apparel investment, jobs and trade relations will be severely damaged if the trade preferences created by the yarn forward rule of origin are undermined in wider trade agreements," Lange stated.