AAFA Supports Vietnam's Inclusion In TPP
AMTAC's letter cites several grounds including the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of International Labor Affairs' latest annual report titled "List of Goods Produced by Child or Forced Labor," which added Vietnam to a list of countries that use child and forced labor in apparel production activities; in addition to other human rights abuses, the preponderance of state-owned enterprises in Vietnam's economy and other concerns.
AAFA's letter argues that keeping Vietnam in the TPP would provide a way to improve labor conditions in the country and address other issues mentioned by AMTAC. Stressing its commitment to "ensuring that individuals employed in the sewn products industries are afforded opportunities, and are treated with fairness and respect," AAFA notes:
Throwing Vietnam out of the TPP provides no path forward to tackle these problems [and] removes any and all leverage the United States would have to force Vietnam to confront these and other matters.
On the other hand, free trade agreements (FTAs), like the TPP, provide mechanisms for the countries participating in the FTAs. As part of the broader balance of concessions, we envision the final TPP will contain strong commitments on labor and permanent, market access for key U.S. and Vietnamese exports. Such an outcome would improve labor conditions and generate economic opportunities - two goals the United States maintains in its international trade policies.
The letter concludes by stating that AMTAC's comments with regard to state-owned enterprises and other issues "merely reinforce the importance of keeping Vietnam at the table to make sure that negotiators can reach the best possible deal - with Vietnam and all TPP partners - in these and other areas."