The $3.8 trillion budget outlined by President Barack Obama on Monday (1 February) links US economic recovery to job creation and trade, with more money being allocated to trade enforcement and export promotion.

The blueprint for the fiscal budget for 2011, which begins on 1 October, will also raise taxes on the wealthy, and freeze spending for a number of government programmes.

Some of the key areas in which changes are proposed that will affect textile and apparel makers, retailers and importers are outlined below.

  • Export promotion: The budget includes $534m nationwide - a 20% increase - to the Commerce Department's International Trade Administration. This will be used to launch a National Export Initiative, part of a broader federal effort to promote exports and improve the competitiveness of US firms.
  • Trade enforcement: The budget also includes a $12m increase for the Department of Labor's Bureau of International Labor Affairs to promote labour enforcement in trade agreements. Other goals are to help enforce free trade agreements with other nations, and eliminate barriers to sales of US products.
  • Wool programme: The proposed Commerce Department budget would eliminate a grant programme created in 2004 for manufacturers of worsted wool fabric. The department said wool manufacturers had enough time to adjust to changes in the trade law.
  • Strengthened security: The Administration is requesting funds for 300 new Customs and Border Protection officers for passenger and cargo screening at ports of entry, additional new intelligence officers, and expanded pre-screening operations at foreign ports.
  • Last in, first out accounting: The budget again tries to end the "last-in, first-out" accounting method which benefits firms such as retailers and textile makers. This rule allows companies to treat the most recently acquired goods as having been sold during the year, which will allow greater deductions if inventory costs are rising.


The next stage is for Congress to approve the budget in order for it to take effect.

Click here for full details of the budget, overviews organised by agency, and summary tables.