Efforts by a group of US apparel brands and retailers to persuade the Peruvian government to repeal legislation that allows the use of short-term contracts in the country's garment industry have, as yet, generated no formal response, just-style has learnt.

The companies - New Balance, Nike, PVH Corp (owner of the Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein brands), VF Corporation (owner of Wrangler, Lee, The North Face, Nautica and Timberland), 47 Brand, and Life Is Good - wrote to President Ollanta Humala Tasso in early March to express their concern.

The law, Decree 22342, allows 'non-traditional' exporting companies to employ workers on short-term contracts - typically for six months, but often for three months and sometimes for as little as one month - to work on specific export orders.

A proposal to repeal its labour provisions is currently making its way through the committee stage before being put to the country's Congress.

The repeal is strongly opposed by textile and apparel manufacturers.

Yet while there has been "an incredible response" from the Peruvian media to the US concerns, there has been no formal reply from the President or the Minister of Labour.

However, a letter issued by the Exporters Association (ADEX), the National Federation of Private Business Institutions (CONFIEP) and other business associations to the president criticised the action of the US brands - calling it an inappropriate intrusion into Peru's sovereign jurisdiction, designed to reduce Peru's competitive advantage.

Some domestic opponents seem to agree with the US stance, saying the law defends a small segment of Peru's textile sector, including the most profitable companies in the country, who benefit by denying their workers their rights.

"What the Peruvian industry needs to realise, however, is that the abuse of short-term contracts is becoming a hot-button issue for many global brands and what might have seemed like a competitive advantage is rapidly turning into a disadvantage for Peru," just-style was told.

Peru's garment and textile industry exports some US$642m annually in textile products to the US alone - and the use of short-term employment contracts has grown exponentially since the signing of free trade agreements with the US and Canada.