The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) praised the US House of Representatives for voting 285 ’ 132 to approve the US/ Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA) negotiated by the Bush Administration. AAFA actively supports the US/ Peru TPA and, in advance of today’s vote, submitted a key vote letter to all US Representatives asking them to vote to approve the measure. The TPA must now be considered and voted on by the US Senate.

‘The House of Representatives has taken the lead’, praised Kevin M. Burke, President and CEO, AAFA. ‘Now the US/ Peru TPA needs to be approved quickly by the Senate.’

‘Additionally, there continue to be key trade initiatives that need addressing by Congress,’ continued Burke. ‘The last-minute scramble in Congress to renew the Andean Trade Preference Act each time it is set to expire ‘and the uncertain business climate this creates - is proof of the need for permanent, comprehensive free trade agreements with countries in the region, like Peru, Panama and Colombia.’

Under the Andean Trade Preference Act, garment manufacturers in Peru and other Andean nations have been able to get duty-free access to the US market when they use US textile inputs. As a result, the Andean region has emerged as an important market for US cotton farmers, yarn spinners and fabric mills. Most of the garments we import from the Andean region today are made largely from US textile inputs. The US/Peru TPA will build on the success of that program.

If Congress does not renew or extend the Andean Trade Preference Act soon, there will be a gap in benefits between when the existing legislation expires on February 29, 2008 and when the US/ Peru TPA is eventually implemented.

This is why an unprecedented coalition of representatives from the entire US textile and apparel supply chain ’ from cotton to consumer ’ previously wrote a joint-letter to Congress and the Bush Administration outlining the urgent need for a predictable relationship with the Andean region through an immediate renewal of the Andean Trade Preference Act and passage of the US/ Peru TPA and US/ Colombia TPA.

‘The American Apparel & Footwear Association has worked tirelessly on these issues and we aren’t ready to rest yet,’ said Burke. ‘Not until every member of Congress understands the many benefits for the US textile and apparel industries created by the Andean Trade Preference Act, and the vital need to make these benefits permanent through the US/ Peru TPA and US/ Colombia TPA.’