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US Government Looks to Boost Textile, Apparel Exports

The US textile and apparel industry will see added support for its manufacturing and trade interests under the Obama administration’s Made in America campaign.

President Obama launched the National Export Initiative in 2010–the first government initiative of its kind–with the goal of doing more to support US companies by creating export opportunities, working to remove trade barriers and settling new trade agreements.

As part of the initiative, the President plans to double US exports by the end of 2014. In the first half of 2013, US exports totaled a record-high $1.12 trillion while imports decreased by $13.1 billion over the same time, reducing the trade deficit by $36.1 billion over the last half year. In 2012, U.S. exports reached $2.2 trillion, according to the Commerce Department. This shows that the US is on track to exceed last year’s totals, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker said in a statement.

The Commerce Department’s Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA) has also been working to increase domestic production and imports.

“The focus of our office has been two-pronged this year – the Made in USA database, as well as our [Trans-Pacific Partnership] and now European Union trade negotiations to help facilitate opening those markets,” Kim Glas, deputy assistant secretary for textiles and apparel at the Commerce Department told WWD.

In the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks, the US has proposed a yarn-forward rule of origin which would mean garments must be made from TPP partner country fabric and yarns and then the final product can be shipped back duty-free, which would be substantial savings for importers.

Glas said under a yarn-forward rule in the TPP agreement, U.S. textile producers “will see significant export potential and growth.”

The Commerce Department will host the first SelectUSA 2013 Investment Summit from Oct. 31 to Nov. 1 in Washington, D.C. Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew, and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, along with Secretary Pritzker, will headline the event. The summit will bring together corporate leaders from around the world to discuss the benefits of investing in the US.