The US National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) is calling for the US government to consider its concerns over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as President Barak Obama meets with Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang.

The NCTO re-emphasised its concerns over the future of 500,000 domestic textile and apparel jobs, and 1.5m international ones if the TPP trade pact does not agree to a strong yarn forward rule of origin in the textile sector.

Its main concerns centre on the "yarn-forward" rule, under which yarn and fabric must be manufactured and assembled in free-trade partner countries in order to enter the US tariff-free.

However, without the rule, the industry is concerned that China would be able to export apparel more cheaply by routing its textile products through Vietnam for cutting and sewing, exploiting its favoured-trade status.

A letter to trade representative Michael Froman, backed by the NCTO and signed by 166 members of the US House of Representatives, said on 10 July that if a yarn-forward rule is not agreed, Vietnam's state-owned companies would be allowed to flood the US market with subsidised Chinese inputs.

According to the letter, Vietnam predicts that under this new rule, its market share in the US would rapidly increase from 7% to nearly 30%, with this growth taken from small and medium-sized textile companies in the US, the western hemisphere and Africa.

The TPP agreement is currently being negotiated by the US and Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Japan is also set to join the talks.