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American Textile Industry Praises TPA

April 21, 2015

There’s no mistaking it: TPA is picking up endorsements from all corners of the American economy. Even the U.S. textile industry has come out in strong support for the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act. And it’s not hard to see why.

Shortly after the bill’s introduction, the National Council of Textile Organizations announced, “We are pleased to lend our support to this renewal of Trade Promotion Authority.” In a statement, the NCTO added, “We look forward to working with both the Executive Branch and Congress as we advocate for trade agreements that fully incorporate the interests of U.S. textile manufacturers. It is critical that these trade agreements help to level the international playing field and boost American exports, create manufacturing jobs, and strengthen the U.S. economy.”

There’s good reason for textile support. TPA will specifically require the administration to negotiate agreements that tear down barriers to American textiles. The bill lays out several big negotiating objectives for textiles, such as:

Promotes Textile and Apparel Exports: TPA continues to ensure that trade agreements will promote the export of U.S.-made textiles and apparel products by seeking fairer and more open conditions for textiles and apparel trade.

Promotes Global Value Chains: New provisions support U.S. participation in global value chains and ensure that trade agreements reflect the increasingly interrelated and multi-sectoral nature of trade and investment activity.

Advances Best Practices in Trade Agreements: TPA supports best practices, including a robust safeguard to protect against a surge in imports that injures the domestic industry as well as strong provisions to prevent transshipment.

Supports a Balanced Outcome, Including the Yarn-Forward Rule of Origin: The negotiating objective is consistent with USTR’s continued use of a yarn-forward rule of origin, which requires that the yarn production and all operations forward occur in either the United States or the territory of our trading partner. The objective supports a balanced approach in textile negotiations, recognizing the importance of global value chains and the necessity of seeking substantially equivalent opportunities for U.S. exporters in foreign markets as those afforded to foreign importers in the U.S. market.

Strengthens Consultations with Congress and the Public: New and expanded provisions empower Congress and ensure it plays a meaningful role in negotiations. This includes requiring special identification and consultations with House Ways & Means, Senate Finance and House and Senate Agriculture Committees [or House and Senate Committees of Jurisdiction] for products facing tariff disparities (higher foreign tariffs than U.S. tariffs).

Addresses Currency Manipulation: New negotiating objective for the first time directs that trade partners avoid manipulating exchange rates, such as through cooperative mechanisms, enforceable rules, reporting, monitoring, transparency, or other means, as appropriate.

Addresses Impact of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs): A new negotiating objective calls for eliminating trade distortions and unfair competition from SOEs and ensuring that they act based solely on commercial considerations.