A group of ten textile and apparel organisations is calling on President Bush and the Congressional leadership to approve legislation on three areas of US-Andean trade at this week's 'lame-duck' session of Congress.
The so-called "lame duck" session applies when Congress reconvenes in an even-numbered year following the November general elections to consider various items of business.
The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), Sewn Products Equipment & Suppliers of the Americas (SPESA) and the Textile Distributors Association (TDA) are among those urging action on legislation implementing free-trade agreements with Peru and Colombia.
They also want legislation to be passed into law to bridge the impending gap between the expiration of the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA) on 31 December and the entry into force of the US-Peru and the US-Colombia trade promotion agreements, which are likely to happen sometime in 2007.

The letter points out that while "The Andean region remains an important and growing market for US textile exports," the overall prospects for this market remain troubled without a permanent two-way duty free partnership between the US and Aneadn textile and apparel producers.

Anticipating the imminent loss of duty free access for that region - in less than 60 days - many US apparel importers have already begun to shift their business elsewhere. Over the last 12 months, US apparel imports from the region have dropped by 11%.

"Time is of the essence if we hope to retain a strong and economically vibrant textile and apparel industry in this county by ensuring a strong trade relationship with our partners in Peru and Colombia.