Andean Trade Preference Act still needed

The US Senate passed the US/ Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA) (HR 3688), 77 ’ 18, previously negotiated by the Bush Administration, and approved by the US House of Representatives in November. The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) applauded this victory and urged President Bush to sign and implement the final legislation quickly. In advance of the vote, AAFA had submitted a key vote letter to all Senators urging them to vote ‘Yes’.

‘AAFA is pleased the US/ Peru TPA has cleared Congress,’ praised Kevin M. Burke, President and CEO, AAFA. ‘But, as it stands, there will be a risky gap in benefits between when the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA) expires and when the new US/ Peru TPA is implemented.’ The current ATPA legislation expires February 29, 2008.

The APTA is a key trade initiative that allows Peru and other Andean nations duty-free access to the US market when US textile inputs are used in the final product. The Andean region has become an important market for US cotton farmers, yarn spinners and fabric mills. For this reason, 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.

‘There will be a rude shock on March 1, 2008, if trade benefits are interrupted because Congress failed to pass an Andean renewal to bridge this gap,’ continued Burke. ‘We ultimately need permanent, comprehensive free trade agreements with countries in the region, like Peru, Panama and Colombia, to avoid this uncertainty.’