American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) president and CEO Juanita D. Duggan publicly criticized the apparent collapse of a multilateral trade agreement in Geneva on Thursday.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) was unable to move forward with the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), a deal that would have standardized customs rules, when India and several other WTO member countries blocked to implement the agreement. The TFA would have reduced trade barriers and eliminated border transaction costs, which the AAFA said would help keep apparel and footwear affordable.
According to a study by the World Economic Forum, the TFA would stimulate the global economy by an estimated one trillion dollars.
“Not only does failure in Geneva dramatically damage the WTO, but it also removes one trillion dollars from the world economy, including the same countries that blocked the landmark deal. Trade ministers from around the world should save the TFA talks immediately,” Duggan said in a statement. “Everybody who wears clothes and shoes will be adversely affected if the TFA is allowed to die,” she added.
Reuters reported that India, in exchange for signing the TFA, demanded progress on a parallel pact that would give the country more freedom to subsidize and stockpile more food grains than WTO allows. Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia supported India’s request.