A new bill that would allow duty-free imports of products made in Mongolia using Mongolian cashmere was introduced in both the US House and the Senate last week – and has garnered support from apparel brands and importers.

The Mongolia Third Neighbor Trade Act was introduced by Republican congressman Ted Yoho, who explains: “The Mongolia Third-Neighbor Trade Act is not just about imports of cashmere; it is smart policy that supports a strong, independent Mongolia that continues to be a beacon of freedom in the region and a strategic partner of the United States.

“It is estimated that this simple act will create upwards of 40,000 jobs primarily for women who make up 90% of the garment industry in Mongolia. We look forward to this strong bipartisan, bicameral legislation being passed under Speaker Pelosi’s leadership and signed into law by President Trump.”

The United States and Mongolia share a strong democratic partnership, called a “third neighbour” relationship, because Mongolia shares land borders with only Russia and China.

The bill, Yoho says, would benefit this relationship by facilitating increased trade between the two countries, support an important sector of the Mongolian economy, and reduce US imports of Chinese cashmere products.

“Mongolian cashmere is a brand in and of itself. This bill would provide a market for Mongolia’s authentic cashmere, supporting growth and creating jobs throughout the US cashmere value chain,” adds Rick Helfenbein, president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA).

“At the same time, by passing the Mongolia Third Neighbor Trade Act, Congress would forge a stronger partnership with our friends in Mongolia and provide American consumers with better access to these high-end products.”