Industry groups from the US and South Korea are calling on trade negotiators to approve a Korea-US Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) that is commercially-meaningful for the textile and apparel sectors of both nations.

In a joint statement issued ahead of the latest round of talks taking place next week in Montana, the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), the United States Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel (USA-ITA) and the Korea Federation of Textile Industries (KOFOTI) urged expanded bilateral trade in a liberalised trading environment.

"We encourage the US and Korean negotiators to recognise that the KORUS FTA must be beneficial to both the US and Korean apparel and textile industries," said AAFA president and CEO Kevin M Burke. 

"The agreement must contain flexible provisions that encourage the continuation of the strong relationship that exists between Korea and the United States," he added.

KOFOTI chairman Seho Kyong said the FTA should provide increased market access for the textile and apparel products of both countries, and that US textile exports to Korea will grow, particularly in high value added and industrial textiles.

USA-ITA member companies want a win-win strategy that will increase business opportunities for US companies and for Korean companies through "immediate duty-free access and flexible rules of origin," said USA-ITA executive director Laura Jones.