The Trans-Pacific Partnership got its latest industry supporter today. The American Apparel and Footwear Association, which represents interests for U.S. apparel and footwear businesses, announced its formal support of the historic trade deal.
“The U.S. apparel, footwear, and accessories industry is a global industry in which nearly every U.S. job in our business depends on access to foreign customers or global supply chains, or both. The TPP will provide opportunities to reduce costs, stay competitive, and enter new markets,” the organization said in a release.
“Benefits of the TPP will materialize more quickly in the case of travel goods (items such as handbags, backpacks, and laptop cases) and footwear, which feature more flexible rules of origin and immediate duty-free treatment for a wide range of products. While there are some immediate opportunities for apparel, most apparel articles are constrained by extremely restrictive rules of origin and long duty phase-outs, meaning benefits will take longer to realize.”
AAFA leadership told Footwear News that after supporting the process of negotiating the deal it spent several months after the text was released in November to get a better feel for industry-wide impact and what exactly was contained in the agreement. After months of consulting the deal and AFFA members, the group decided to support the historic trade deal.
“There were three pretty basic messages that came from our members about why they were supporting TPP. One it’s going to reduce cost and drive cost out of supply chains by principally eliminating duties; two it gives them the chance to enter new markets, especially Japan with the elimination of the tariff rate quota; and three it supports those trade based jobs and we have so many of those here alone,” said Steve Lamar, EVP of the AAFA.
The AAFA is among some top supporters of the deal. The Footwear Retailers and Distributors of America, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and companies ranging from Nike to Gap have all thrown support behind the trade agreement. The deal promises to eliminate footwear and apparel tariffs from member nations, as well as implement more industry standards for working conditions and environmental practices.