PRESS RELEASE: Washington, D.C. – The United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) joined six U.S. and African fashion and retail trade organizations in a call for immediate renewal of the African Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA), which is scheduled to expire on September 30, 2015.
The organizations also called for long-term renewal of the program for at least 15 years—including the third-country fabric provision—and extension of the third-country fabric provision to all AGOA beneficiaries. The statement is attached and online.
“AGOA not only allows U.S. companies to produce quality, affordable apparel for their customers, but also provides much-needed jobs and economic opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa,” says Julia K. Hughes, President of USFIA.
“However, those opportunities are at stake as the expiration date looms,” she adds. “In our recent benchmarking study, fashion executives told us that they want to continue sourcing from the AGOA region, and even place more orders. But without duty-free treatment, sourcing apparel from the region is cost-prohibitive for many fashion brands and retailers, and since they plan their sourcing six to twelve months in advance, many are already considering leaving the region altogether.”
“We hope that the discussions at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit last week, as well as the recent Congressional hearings, will lead to quick, long-term renewal of this important trade preference program so fashion brands and retailers can continue placing orders and expand their business in the AGOA region,” Hughes concludes.
In addition to USFIA, the signatories of the statement include the African Cotton and Textile Industries Federation (ACTIF), the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA), the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA), the National Retail Federation (NRF), the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), and the Retail Industry Leaders of America (RILA).
For more information, contact Samantha Sault, USFIA Vice President of Communications, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-419-0474.