Trans-Pacific Partnership Apparel Coalition Advocates For Modern TPP In Australia

MELBOURNE, Australia — March 9, 2012 — As the 11th round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
negotiations concludes in Melbourne, Australia this week, the TPP Apparel Coalition was again
present to hold productive discussions with government officials and other industry stakeholders,
including the Australian and Vietnamese textile and apparel industries. In meetings with various
negotiating teams, the coalition advocated for simple, flexible rules of origin, smart customs
provisions, and immediate market access that facilitate apparel trade and investment in the TPP
region. The coalition also met with other US stakeholder groups who increasingly view a positive
outcome on apparel as critical to the overall success of the negotiations.

“Millions of well-paying U.S. jobs would be bolstered by flexible apparel rules and the
successful conclusion of the TPP,” said Stephanie Lester vice president of international trade for
the Retail Industry Leaders Association. “We were pleased to continue a productive dialogue with
the participating countries around a modern approach for apparel trade that reflects the commercial
realities of global value chains and provides immediate market access to create jobs, trade and

Restrictive rules such as the “yarn forward” style rule of origin — which require all the
materials that go into a garment to originate and be assembled in a TPP country to receive
tariff-free treatment — are unworkable in today’s global value chains. Past FTAs with TPP countries
have shown that such an “all or nothing” approach does not spur new U.S. exports or new apparel

When considering ways to create new opportunities in the TPP for apparel trade and
investment, it is important to consider the value and jobs created throughout the entire global
value chain. A global value chain includes the full range of activities that firms and workers do
to bring a product from concept to the final customer. This includes the manufacturing, design,
production, marketing, distribution, retail and support to the final customer.

“The yarn-forward-approach we’ve seen in our past FTAs is not equipped to accommodate today’s
global supply chains and create the kind of trade and investment flows that are needed in the TPP.
It is time for U.S. trade policy to recognize that 98 percent of apparel sold in the United States
is imported and not allow antiquated rules to hold up negotiations any longer. We look forward to
attending the next round of negotiations in the U.S. and continuing the conversation,” concluded
Steve Lamar, executive vice president for the American Apparel & Footwear Association.

Other issued discussed by the coalition included:

  • Advocating for customs provisions that facilitate rather than hinder trade.
  • Emphasizing smart enforcement that views responsible trading companies as partners.
  • Achieving immediate, reciprocal duty free access so as not to delay the job creating benefits
    of the agreement.
  • Ensuring that the TPP is a living agreement so it can grow with a rapidly evolving fashion
  • Resisting efforts by interests that have sought to shackle the TPP with demands that will make
    it hard for trade and investment to grow in the region.
  • Adopting a general rule of origin that is liberal and flexible, with limited exceptions only
    for specific products proven to be import sensitive.
  • Supporting an early conclusion and expansion to other countries such as Japan, Mexico and

The TPP Apparel Coalition supports the negotiation of a 21st Century TPP agreement that
generates new trade and investment opportunities for the benefit of workers, businesses, and
families. These opportunities include buying and selling goods and services, sustaining and growing
well-paying U.S jobs, and providing high added value for the U.S. and TPP economies.

Posted on March 13, 2012

Source: American Apparel & Footwear Association