The NCC joined with the National Council of Textile Organizations in urging representatives to cosign an important letter to Acting US Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis that provides specific guidance to US negotiators on key provisions which must be included in any Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement presented to Congress for approval -- in order to earn the industry's support and avoid disrupting the significant volume of trade built between the United States and the Western Hemisphere.

The letter from the representatives to Ambassador Marantis expresses specific concern with the Vietnamese government’s position regarding the textile negotiations and the impact this could have on the US textile industry’s suppliers and its export partners.

The letter states that, “After 16 rounds of negotiations, Vietnam is seeking to replace long standing textile rules that have been included in previous free trade agreements with a new rule that would allow Vietnam to source textiles from China and export garments and finished goods to the United States duty free. A recent study concluded that if adopted as part of the TPP, this rule would cost more than 500,000 U.S. textile and related jobs and put more than 1.5 million jobs in the textile and apparel supply chains in the Western Hemisphere and Africa in jeopardy.”

 

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The letter noted that the TPP talks are entering what is expected to be the final year of negotiations and because of the Vietnamese government’s intransigence, the US government ranks textiles and apparel among the three most difficult negotiating chapters.

“We strongly urge the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to maintain its current position for strong textile rules which include the “yarn forward” rule-of-origin,” the letter states. “From NAFTA to the recently implemented Korean free trade pact, the yarn-forward rule has been an essential component of every U.S. free trade agreement over the past 25 years. This rule has a proven track record of job creation in the U.S. and our free trade areas, and it is responsible for hundreds of thousands of U.S. manufacturing workers and millions of direct and indirect jobs in countries south of our border and in Africa. Specifically, the yarn-forward rule is responsible for $25 billion of United States two-way trade with Mexico, Haiti, the CAFTA-DR countries and the Andean region.”

The representatives state in their letter, on the NCC’s website at www.cotton.org/issues/2013/nctotpp.cfm, that they look forward to working with the USTR as the TPP negotiations press forward this year and that as the TPP negotiations come to a conclusion, “we will be mindful of the outcome of the textile and apparel rules in determining our ultimate views on a final agreement.”

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