Two-way trade liberalisation and open markets are key to US workers employed by the American apparel and footwear industry, the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) has said.

The AAFA last week brought around two dozen apparel, footwear, and retail executives to Capitol Hill, Washington, in a bid to lobby for key international trade policies and programmes.

"With 98% of our footwear produced offshore, 97% of our apparel produced offshore, and 95% of the people who wear clothes and shoes on the planet living offshore, it is clear two-way trade liberalisation and open markets are key to the 4m US workers employed by the American apparel and footwear industry," said AAFA CEO Juanita Duggan.

"We need Congress and the Administration to get back to work, renew expired and expiring trade programmes, and move forward on the US trade agenda."

The visits were part of a three-day series of meetings at which the member association identified trade priorities for the coming year.

These include renewal of a Nicaragua trade programme, renewal and update of the expired Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) programme, early renewal of the expiring African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), and implementation of a global trade facilitation agreement.

During the visits, AAFA members met with Senators and representatives from their home states as well as the Senate Finance Committee, the House Ways and Means Committee, and Congressional leadership.