TPP: 167 Representatives sign letter to USTR

Patrick McHenry, NC-10They asked that he support strong textile rules in the TPP.  “This agreement must be fairly constructed to protect and maintain investment in the many small- and medium-sized textile businesses in our nation that would be affected by it,” said the co-chairman of the Congressional Textile Caucus and a member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee. The letter, signed by 167 lawmakers, 38% of the 435-member House of Representatives, expressed concerns about positions taken by the Vietnamese government in the negotiations that could have significant negative effects on the U.S. textile industry and its export partners. “The Vietnamese government has attempted to change long standing rules to allow the sourcing of textiles from China to the United States duty free.  This could lead to the loss of more than 500,000 textile jobs in the U.S. and another 1.5 million jobs in the textile supply chains in the Western Hemisphere and Africa. The letter specifically mentions the importance of the yarn-forward rule which ensures that only countries within a free trade region receive benefits from the agreement.  This rule is responsible for over $25 billion of trade between the United States and other countries.  Read more

Garment makers struggle to make threads meet

This year, the garment and textile industry set itself a turnover target of $ 15 billion, a 12 per cent increase against 2011. In the first five months this year, export turnover reached $ 5.3 billion or an increase of 7.7 per cent against 2011.

Export orders were down 30 per cent across the entire garment and textile sector. Small firms face closure due to larger firms’ competitive advantage. Big exporters benefited from free on board (FOB) shipping, where the buyer or seller pays transport and loading costs.

Meanwhile, imports of raw materials decreased both in volume and value. Imports of cotton dropped 33.7 per cent in value and 2.3 per cent in volume, while imports of fibre dropped by 29.3 per cent in value but were up 0.2 per cent in volume. — VNS

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Textiles, Vietnam, and the TPP

Even though ongoing talks around the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement involve nine nations, for the US textile industry Vietnam is seen as by far the biggest threat.

The sector opposed Vietnam’s inclusion even before discussions began back in March 2010, and now the negotiations are heading into their sixth round later this month, a concerted campaign is underway to negotiate strong textile and apparel rules into the pact.

Textiles is a sensitive industry for the US, and at the heart of concerns are fears that the free trade agreement will not only flood American markets with Vietnamese clothing, but also provide limited opportunities for US yarn and fabric makers.

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