Arlington, VA–The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) is urging the United States to consider the legwear industry’s need for viable rules of origin for socks and hosiery within the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, the AAFA’s Legwear Committee calls on the ambassador to ensure the production of U.S. legwear exports and imports is supported through the TPP.
“As the TPP negotiations begin transitioning to their ‘end game,’ we are greatly concerned that legwear production in the TPP region will be adversely affected by the U.S. government ignoring the supply chain realities of U.S. domestic and international manufacturing,” the letter notes.
One of the issues being negotiated in the TPP that could provide great benefit, or great loss, to the U.S. legwear industry, the AAFA says, is a rule of origin (ROO), which will be required for legwear products to qualify for duty-benefits under the agreement.
The apparel group adds that much domestic and international production depends on the ability to globally source certain yarns and fibers.
A ROO that relies on a knit-to-shape provision for legwear would increase production and employment in TPP countries, by stipulating that all inputs could be globally sourced but that production from the knit to shape process forward must take place in the TPP region, the AAFA explains.
This way, U.S. legwear firms that already produce domestically and internationally could “reap the benefits” of the TPP by increasing their production in the region, without having to move production to non-TPP regions to remain competitive.
A knit-to-shape ROO would also ensure the allowance of global sourcing for certain yarn and fibre inputs, including gimped yarn, will continue.
“We want to preserve existing jobs in the US,” the letter states. “We want to give US manufacturers a fair shot at exporting their goods to other TPP countries.”
The Legwear Committee was formed after The Hosiery Association (THA) dissolved last year.