US president Barack Obama signed new tax legislation on Friday (17 December) that extends unemployment benefits to millions and continues tax cuts put into place during the Bush Administration for another two years.

The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010, has been welcomed by apparel retailers and importers.

"This legislation...extends valuable research and development tax credits, renews business and hiring incentives, and eases individual income and payroll taxes," explains Kevin Burke, president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA).

He adds the tax cuts are "vital to the health and strength of the US apparel and footwear industry and the entire US economy."