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USTR Holds Off on Tabling Textiles, Apparel Rules of Origin in TPP Talks

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has decided to hold off on tabling a proposal on rules of origin for textiles and apparel in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks because it needs additional time to fully carry out its consultation process with Congress and domestic stakeholders, according to a U.S. trade official.

“We will put forth our proposal when we conclude those consultations,” the official said. At the last negotiating round, TPP partners had agreed to exchange product-specific rules of origin in all areas before the sixth round of talks in Singapore.

Up to this point, USTR has given every indication that it will continue the precedent set in the most recent U.S. bilateral trade deals and push for a “yarn forward” rule of origin. This is supported by U.S. textile producers and opposed by U.S. retailers and apparel importers, who want a more liberal rule of origin, sources said.

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52 Congressmen Sign Letter Urging Textile Strong Rules of Origin in Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

June 1, 2011

Ambassador Ron Kirk
600 17th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20508

Dear Ambassador Kirk:

As members of the United States House of Representatives representing districts with substantial textile and apparel industry interests, we write regarding the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. While we understand and appreciate the broad trade and geopolitical opportunities presented by the TPP, this agreement poses unique challenges for the U.S. textile and apparel industry, especially with the inclusion of Vietnam.

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