They 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.
Vietnam predicts that under a new rule, its market share in the U.S. would rapidly increase from 7 to nearly 30 percent.
“Maintaining provisions such as yarn-forward and strong duty preferences in the TPP will not only help the domestic textile industry keep well-paying and productive jobs in the U.S. but it will also aid the development and emergence of new export markets amongst our important trading partners,” they wrote.
“While the toll on U.S. manufacturing workers would be high, the social and economic impact on small developing economies south of our border that depend on the textile and apparel supply chain would be devastating,” they wrote.
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