The manufacturing trade groups sent a letter to Vice President Kamala Harris yesterday (31 May), requesting the US Government uphold its strong rules of origin in the US free trade agreement with the region. The letter also asks the Government to maintain its China 301 tariffs on finished apparel imports, ahead of the Summit of the Americas, which is taking place in Los Angeles next week. 

The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), representing the full spectrum of US textiles from fibre through finished sewn products, and the Central America – Dominican Republic Apparel and Textile Council (CECATEC), the main apparel and textile group in the region, thanked Harris for her leadership in helping drive more investment to northern Central America.  

The organisations also thanked the Biden administration’s commitment to strengthening the economic partnership forged between the US and the region, which supports one million textile and apparel jobs.  

“Perhaps most critical for our collective industries is the administration’s strong support for the “yarn forward” rule of origin in the US-Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), which promotes trade, investment and economic development in the US and the region,” the groups stated in the letter.  

“This ensures the benefits of the agreement go to the partners in the agreement, which helps drive massive investment and certainty. The agreement’s strong rules have brought trade and investment to the region and the US and allowed us to compete against highly subsidised industries in Asia often employing illegal trade practices such as the use of forced labour.” 

It continued: “We continue to urge the administration to hold highly subsidised economies accountable for predatory trade practices that have blatantly undermined our collective industries and our workers. It is critical for the administration to continue to ensure the 301 tariffs remain on finished apparel products that have helped bring diversification in sourcing from Asia and provided opportunities for both US and Central American workers,” they noted. “The tariffs are playing a key role in unlocking investment in the region and the US.” 

The full letter can be read here

The United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) president Julia Hughes recently explained to Just Style how her organisation is pleased the Biden Administration is beginning the process to review the impact and the need for the China 301 tariffs.