Thread maker Unifi has welcomed the amendment of a trade pact which it says will boost the use of US thread by closing a legal loophole.

The company worked with government trade officials for five years to engineer the technical correction to the sewing thread provision in the United States-Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA).

Previously, the agreement allowed the use of non-originating sewing thread in the assembly of textiles and apparel under the DR-CAFTA – meaning that thread from Asian manufacturers, for instance, could be used without losing preferential tariff treatment.

The loophole specifically affected certain single-ply synthetic sewing thread, with all other sewing threads – including cotton and acrylic – already enjoying yarn-forward rules of origin.

Unifi said the bill was significant to US textile manufacturers because it would encourage greater use of US threads in the DR-CAFTA countries.

“Yarn-forward rules of origin are crucial in free trade agreements so that the benefits go to US workers and our trading partners in the region of the agreement,” said Bill Jasper, chairman and CEO of Unifi.

“Thread manufacturers in the Americas lost business to Asian producers because of this oversight.”