Statement By U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk On President Obama’s Signature Of Key Job-Supporting Trade Legislation

WASHINGTON — August 10, 2012 — United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk today released a
statement following President Barack Obama’s signature into law of legislation that makes critical
amendments to the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the Central America – Dominican
Republic – United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR).

“By signing this important legislation into law today, the President is ensuring job
protection for thousands of textile and apparel industry workers in the United States, Africa and
Latin America,” said Ambassador Kirk. “I am proud to say that this bill passed with immense
bipartisanship in both the House and the Senate last week. I commend Members of Congress on both
sides of the aisle for coming together to support American jobs and strengthen our relationship
with these key U.S. trading partners. The Administration looks forward to working with AGOA
stakeholders on both sides of the Atlantic to grow the U.S.-Africa trade and investment
relationship by taking full of advantage of this and other provisions of AGOA.”

Specifically, the bill extends until September 2015 the third-country fabric provision of
AGOA, which will enable the continuation of duty-free access into the U.S. for qualifying apparel
exports from sub-Saharan Africa. This provision was due to expire at the end of next month. It
would have been detrimental to many workers and apparel producers in sub-Saharan Africa had
Congress and the Administration not acted to renew it. The bill also adds South Sudan to the list
of sub-Saharan African countries that might become eligible for AGOA benefits once it meets
eligibility criteria. 

In addition, the bill provides for several technical amendments to CAFTA-DR. Among them is
one that ensures that all sewing thread used in CAFTA-DR qualifying garments must originate in
Central America, the Dominican Republic or the United States. Prior to this legislation, there was
a loophole in the Agreement that allowed for a type of sewing thread to originate in other
countries, like China. This amendment eliminates that loophole and, therefore, provides job
protection for thousands of American apparel and textile workers. 

Posted on August 14, 2012

Source: USTR