US Fashion and Apparel Industry Releases Position Paper on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP)

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The American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) and the US Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) , the two leading industry organizations representing the US fashion and apparel industry, jointly released a position paper this week on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP), which is currently under negotiation between the United States and the European Union.

The position paper spells out a few priorities deemed by the US fashion apparel industry for the T-TIP:

  • Full, immediate and reciprocal elimination of tariffs, meaning import duties on all apparel products shall be eliminated on day one without phrase-out periods.
  • Flexible rules of origin, meaning restrictive rules of origin such as “yarn-forward” which requires companies to use textile inputs from certain regions so as to enjoy the duty free market access shall be abandoned and replaced by simpler and more flexible ones.
  • Regulatory coherence, such as harmonization on labeling regulations, harmonization of product safety and test method regulations, and establishing of a harmonized list of prohibited substances.
  • Emphasis on facilitative customs provisions, meaning improving predictability, simplicity and uniformity in border procedures.  

The European Branded Clothing Alliance is also a party of the joint statement; however, the European Textile and Apparel Confederation (Euratex) is not involved.

On the other hand, in May 2014, the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), which represents the interests of the US textile industry, announced its priorities for the T-TIP negation, including:

  • Adopt the “yarn-forward” rules of origin in T-TIP
  • Set phrase-out periods for sensitive textile and apparel products
  • Protect the Berry Amendment (which requires all US military uniforms have to be 100% made in USA)
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Author: Sheng Lu

Professor @ University of Delaware

11 thoughts on “US Fashion and Apparel Industry Releases Position Paper on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP)”

  1. I don’t think it will be in the AAFA and USFIA best interest to accept these changes on tariffs and regulations. If we were to stop using tariffs on fabric and yarn who knows what would start moving in and out of the country tax free. Also eliminating yarn forward could cause serous concerns for consumers. Who knows what could be mixed with the textiles when they are imported into the country. Regulatory Coherence and emphasis on facilitative customs provisions could be good for textile and apparel industry because they will create saver clothing and more regulations on the testing and facilities that apparel and textiles come out of.

  2. I think that this position paper that was released actually has some potential. I personally think that it is a good idea for these organizations to change up some regulations and refresh some rules of the TTIP. I can see where the comment above is speaking from because tariffs are very significant, however in regards to the yarn forward rules, I disagree with the previous comment. I think that rules should be simpler, but there should still be a process in place. I think that it is important for these organizations to keep the trade agreements in check and keep them up to date.

  3. I think that eliminating the yarn-forward rule in this agreement will defiantly hurt the US manufacturing sector. I think that the yarn forward rule is one of the things that helps to keep US yarn manufacturing successful. I think that we also need to make sure that we are not allowing a lot of textiles in duty-free. This only hurts the US. I think that in some cases duty free can be okay for very small economic countries but allowing countries with large economies and a lot of textile and apparel manufacturing import their clothing duty free is only helping countries who do not need the help.

  4. I think the AAFA and USFIA would be negatively affected by the (T-TIP) negotiation if these priorities were not put into place. Also, if the NCTO priorities were not enacted the (T-TIP) negotiation would not be to their benefit. The fashion/ apparel industry and textile industry are involved in the (T-TIP) negotiation for different reasons. Which is the reason the T& A industries require different rules in order to help benefit from this negotiation. In order to manufacture their goods within the different industries most efficiently and cheap they require different rule negotiations. Since both of these companies require opposite rules it is very hard for this negotiation to enact any strict or flexible rules to be applied and to successful in all industries. In order to come to an agreement for both industries, the T-TIP negotiation should do what is in the best interest for consumers. This will help the consumer economy, which will inevitably help the Textile and Apparel Industry as a whole.

  5. I think this released paperwork foreshadows the positivity I feel as if its listed priorities will help make cooperation easier for the countries involved. The elimination of tariffs and more flexible rules of origin will allow for more business to be conducted between the countries, with a confidence that their economies will not be negatively affected by their partner. In addition, I feel as if the more uniformed border procedures will also make it easier for all involved countries to conduct international business and have stimulated economies.

    1. I agree with the statement above. I believe that by getting rid of tariffs will allow for more growth and prosperity between countries. It will create extensive competition and growth of specialty products. Since there wont be tariffs, the country will have to focus on a specialty products or new innovation in order to remain on top. From then on, the U.S. product can then be passed all around the world. With that being said, I do believe that the U.S. should be protected by the Berry Amendment, so that U.S. military uniforms are strictly 100% made in USA. I do not believe that anything we import from another country should be made into a U.S. military uniform because these men and women are representing our country, and I believe the clothing off their backs should even represent our country. Maybe I am being a little frugal, but that is how I feel.

  6. After reading this position paper, I believe eliminating the yarn forward rule with hurt the manufacturing and production business in the long run. As stated above, the yarn forward rule requires businesses to use textile inputs from specific regions to access the duty free markets. Without this rule, I feel this United States manufacturing businesses may decline. As for the duty free market access, importing textiles is only benefitting the countries that do not need the help or money. The smaller countries with weaker economies would benefit most from the duty free market. By replacing this market access and replacing it with a simpler and more flexible one, different countries will benefit differently.

    1. “yarn-forward” is just a rule, but whether such a rule will work effectively depends on specific situations. T-TIP is very different from the case of NAFTA and CAFTA, because the nature of T&A industry in the European Union and in the NAFTA& CAFTA region is very different. Would encourage you to evaluate these “positions” in the context of the US and EU T&A industry as well as the US-EU T&A trade patterns.

  7. I also believe that the removal of tariffs will result in growth and competition between countries. Flexible rules of origin is a questionable concept to me. I think that it is important to know exactly where textiles have come from and what they are made of. Stricter regulations help to ensure that the product is exactly what the consumer thinks that it is.

    1. you misunderstood what is called “flexible rules of origin”. it is not about whether consumers can know “where textiles have come from”, but rather what can constitute “FTA originating products that are eligible for duty free treatment”. the “Third-country fabric” provision in AGOA actually is a more flexible rules of origin. You can compare it to yarn-forward.

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