Textile Importer Interests Press For Passage Of Trade Pacts

Trade associations representing
textile manufacturers and apparel importers have appealed to President George W. Bush and leaders
of Congress to approve three international trade bills during the current lame duck session of
Congress. They are particularly concerned that permitting the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug
Eradication Act (ATPDEA) to expire will disrupt trade with South American countries.

The trade associations have written the president and both Democratic and Republican leaders
of the House and Senate urging them to act on:

· The Andean pact involving Peru, Colombia, Bolivia and Ecuador, which is due to expire
December 31. They say the Andean region is an important and growing market for US textile exports,
but the prospects for this market are “troubled.” They said, “Anticipating the imminent loss of
duty-free access for that region in less than 60 days, many US apparel importers have begun
shifting their business elsewhere.”

· Approval of the US/Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA). That agreement already has been
signed by both governments and has received congressional hearings and mock mark-ups in both
chambers, so it could be enacted swiftly.

· Approval of the US/Colombia TPA, which still has to be signed, could be taken care of
before Congress adjourns. The time frame for that to happen is extremely tight, which underscores
the importance of enacting the Andean pact extension granting duty-free treatment of apparel
imports until the bilateral agreement is finalized.

The trade associations said swift action on all three initiatives this year is “vitally
important,” pointing out that failure to act will result in a gap in trade preference authority
that would jeopardize trade in the region.

November 14, 2006