The apparel and footwear industry of the US has voiced its support for trade pledges made by President Obama in his recent State of the Union Address.

Matt Priest, president of the Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America (FDRA), said that a Pacific free trade agreement could generate nearly US$500m in duty savings.

He added: “I am encouraged that…the President strongly outlined in his State of the Union speech the need to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in 2015.

“I was impressed he spoke so passionately about trade and is working to convince the public of its benefits and the Congress of the need to pass Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) – the same authority given to every President since Nixon.”

Juanita Duggan, president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), pointed out that the House Ways & Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee were holding hearings to review the trade agenda, and more trade legislation would be advanced in the coming weeks.

She said: “For our members, action can’t come quickly enough. We continue to suffer the adverse impact of the stalled trade agenda from the past few years.

“We look forward to working with President and Congress this year on making this ambitious, yet critical, trade agenda a reality.”