The US should pursue a two-part international trade strategy to harmonise compliance and tackle trade barriers, according to the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA).

In comments to US Trade Representative Michael Froman ahead of the National Trade Estimates Report on Foreign Trade Barriers, AAFA president and CEO Kevin Burke focused on challenges faced by apparel and footwear companies in key markets, such as Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia, China, Canada and Japan.

“In order to help sustain the apparel and footwear industry and many others in the United States, we ask USTR to undertake a global strategy in two parts,” Burke wrote.

“First, we urge you to work toward the harmonisation of global compliance requirements.

“Second, the US government must address the litany of tariff and non-tariff barriers facing American companies around the world.”

Burke highlighted in particular ongoing talks between the US and the European Union on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and with Asian and Australasian countries on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

And he drew attention to US companies selling clothes and shoes made in China, Vietnam and other Asian countries into a variety of markets around the world.

“These so-called ‘third country exports’ support thousands of US jobs, employing American workers in design, research and development, sourcing, marketing, sales and logistics,” Burke wrote.

“We urge the US government to give serious time and consideration to slowing the aggressive use of trade remedy laws, safeguard measures, and other restrictions not only against US-made products, but also against US-branded products made in other countries.”