The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) and National Cotton Council (NCC) sent a letter to the chairs and ranking members of two key congressional committees on Wednesday voicing support for a timely extension of the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA) that expires on Sept. 30.
The House Ways and Means Committee’s Subcommittee on Trade is set to hold a hearing on Thursday on the trade preference program.
The organizations said CBTPA has provided a structured system of textile and apparel duty preferences for certain countries, most notably Haiti, since it was implemented in 2000. NCTO and NCC said the U.S. textile and cotton industries see significant benefits from the program, which has helped establish an export market for U.S.-grown cotton, U.S.-spun yarn and other textile materials of U.S. origin.
The U.S. content rule contained in CBTPA provides a mutual benefit to the U.S. industry and the Caribbean Basin region economies. The associations said their support is contingent upon the trade program not being tied to other unrelated and harmful trade and tariff provisions.
The NCTO and NCC sent the letter to House Ways and Means chairman Richard Neal (D.-Mass.) and ranking member Kevin Brady (R.-Texas), Senate Finance chairman Charles Grassley (R.-Iowa) and ranking member Ron Wyden (D.-Ore.).
The letter follows one sent last week by a collation that included the American Apparel & Footwear Association, the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America, National Retail Federation, Council of Fashion Designers of America, the Accessories Council and the Outdoor Industry Association to United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer urging CBTPA’s renewal.
According to data from the Office of Textiles and Apparel, imports from Haiti decreased by 33.65 percent to 128.37 square meter equivalents (SME) in the first half of the year and declined 35.32 percent in value to $304.92 million. CBTPA, also known as the Caribbean Basin Initiative that includes other island nations, posted apparel imports to the U.S. of 986.49 million SME in 2019, an increase of 11 percent increase over 2018.