A decade-long programme offering duty-free benefits for woven cotton bottoms imported into the US from the Dominican Republic has now expired.
As of 1 December, apparel may no longer use allowances to qualify for duty-free treatment under the Dominican Republic Earned Import Allowance Program, the US Office for Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA) has confirmed.
For 10 years the scheme offered uncapped duty-free benefit for US imports of certain woven cotton bottoms (pants and trousers, bib and brace overalls, breeches and shorts, and skirts and divided skirts) assembled in the Dominican Republic from third-country fabric.
In September a US official told just-style that Dominican exports to the US had been on a steep decline for a few years.
Some Dominican Republic clothing manufacturer executives also said the ten years during which the so-called DR 2-for-1 system existed did not provide enough time to sustainably develop growing markets.
Others complained that the Dominican government had not sufficiently promoted products sold via the system, while others noted DR exporters found it hard to compete with rival cheaper exporters in neighbouring Haiti and also in Asia.
A decline in 2017 was attributed to increased imports from Haiti, which offers lower labour costs and trade preferences under the HOPE/HELP programmes; increased competition from other Western Hemisphere suppliers; a significant drop in woven trouser manufacturing capacity in the DR; a shift by US importers to Asian suppliers; and uncertainty surrounding the program’s renewal.