Lawmakers press for strong trade rules for Vietnam

Although traditionally focused on apparel production, Vietnam has been expanding its reach into industrial fabrics and other higher-end textiles in recent years, according to AMTAC.

The letter urges negotiators to adopt special market access rules for Vietnam, requiring the nation to meet certain transparency and market-based economy benchmarks before gaining benefits. 

"This letter shows the U.S. government that the textile industry’s 400,000 jobs and the additional 1.2 million jobs supported by the industry are important to Congress,” said Jeff Price, vice president, Apparel and Specialty Fabrics Division of Milliken and co-chairman of AMTAC.

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"While we understand and appreciate the broad trade and geopolitical opportunities presented by the TPP, this agreement poses unique challenges for the U.S. textile and apparel industry, especially with the inclusion of Vietnam. 

The agreement also should include the basic yarn-forward rule of origin for textiles and apparel with no loopholes. 
The TPP also should strengthen customs enforcement rules that  include effective tracking of yarn and fabric inputs as well as other measures. 

"Given Vietnam’s heavy reliance on China for yarns and fabrics, strong customs rules are mandatory if fraudulent activity is to be contained," the letter said.  

Lawmakers cautioned that missteps in negotiating the agreement could "dramatically shift global trading patterns, displace critical U.S. textile, and apparel jobs and undermine important trade relationships in the Western Hemisphere that support nearly 2 million jobs." 


Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine), chairman of the House Trade Working Group, said “these trade negotiations give us an opportunity to address the mistakes of the past and expand economic opportunities for our workers and businesses."

“But if USTR fails to successfully negotiate our textile priorities, we stand to lose significant textile and apparel jobs in the United States," he said. "That’s why these objectives are so important and need to be made a priority.”

TPP is a multi-lateral trade agreement being negotiated with plans for expansion beyond the current nine participants which are the United States, Vietnam, Malaysia, New Zealand, Brunei, Singapore, Chile, Australia and Peru. 

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Led by Rep. Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyFive landmark moments of testimony to Congress Conway spars with Wallace on whether White House will cooperate with impeachment inquiry after formal vote Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' MORE (R-S.C.) the letter was signed by a total of 26 Republicans and 26 Democrats. 

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