Statement By U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk On President Obama’s Signature Of Key Job-Supporting Trade Legislation
"By signing this important legislation into law today, the President is ensuring job protection for thousands of textile and apparel industry workers in the United States, Africa and Latin America," said Ambassador Kirk. "I am proud to say that this bill passed with immense bipartisanship in both the House and the Senate last week. I commend Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle for coming together to support American jobs and strengthen our relationship with these key U.S. trading partners. The Administration looks forward to working with AGOA stakeholders on both sides of the Atlantic to grow the U.S.-Africa trade and investment relationship by taking full of advantage of this and other provisions of AGOA."
Specifically, the bill extends until September 2015 the third-country fabric provision of AGOA, which will enable the continuation of duty-free access into the U.S. for qualifying apparel exports from sub-Saharan Africa. This provision was due to expire at the end of next month. It would have been detrimental to many workers and apparel producers in sub-Saharan Africa had Congress and the Administration not acted to renew it. The bill also adds South Sudan to the list of sub-Saharan African countries that might become eligible for AGOA benefits once it meets eligibility criteria.
In addition, the bill provides for several technical amendments to CAFTA-DR. Among them is one that ensures that all sewing thread used in CAFTA-DR qualifying garments must originate in Central America, the Dominican Republic or the United States. Prior to this legislation, there was a loophole in the Agreement that allowed for a type of sewing thread to originate in other countries, like China. This amendment eliminates that loophole and, therefore, provides job protection for thousands of American apparel and textile workers.
Posted on August 14, 2012