A cohort of industry associations in the apparel, footwear and accessories sectors have joined forces to call on the U.S. government to renew the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA) as soon as possible.
The CBTPA, which celebrated its 20th anniversary on May 18, will expire on September 30, 2020. Since its inception, the Trade Law has become an important part of the effort to develop and facilitate trade in the basin region. of the Caribbean, especially with Haiti. .
Overall, the CBTPA is structured to reasonably balance the interests of U.S. textile manufacturers with those of the region’s textile and clothing manufacturers. This requires the use of US regional yarns and fabrics, or CBTPA, which means that Haiti, as the main country still participating in the CBTPA, has become a major export market for US textiles.
On Friday, August 28, an open letter to US Ambassador to Trade Robert E. Lighthizer was jointly signed by the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), and Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America (FDRA). , and the National Retail Federation (NRF), among others.
In addition to the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunities Through Partnership Encouragement Act (HOPE) and the Haiti Economic Elevator Program Act (HELP), the CBTPA is now increasing U.S. exports to strategic allies in the country. Caribbean basin. The programs have supported jobs in the textiles, clothing and footwear industries in the United States, and supported economic development in the region, advancing key U.S. foreign, security and immigration policy objectives. .
“More specifically, the CBTPA continues to play a direct and essential role in advancing the industrial partnership that currently exists between the United States and Haiti,” the associations wrote. “In 2019, 100% (by volume) of clothing imported into the United States under the CBTPA was imported from Haiti. And US clothing imports from Haiti continue to grow. In fact, total US apparel imports from Haiti increased 13.4% in 2019. Since the rules of origin of these programs generally require the use of US fabrics and yarns, these imports of US garments incorporate earlier US textile exports.
The associations say these benefits are now under threat due to questions surrounding the renewal of the CBTPA.
“These concerns are in addition to the considerable pain, costs and uncertainty that the industry is already trying to manage in the wake of Covid-19 and the accompanying economic crisis. Orders have already been placed for goods that will arrive well after September 30th. Companies are increasingly having to assume that these orders will be fully taxable – even if they use US inputs – which will put our Haitian customers and partners at a disadvantage, as well as our US textile manufacturers and exporters.
“The CBTPA provides a great opportunity for companies looking to diversify their supply chains close to home, but time is running out for this essential program. We urge you to convey your support to Congress to renew this program – which enjoys bipartite and bicameral support – as soon as possible, ”they concluded.
In May, the AAFA, CFDA and the Travel Goods Association (TGA) made recommendations to Congress for future tariff relief and stimulus assistance to help retailers and importers emerge from the coronavirus crisis.
This included the renewal of the CBTPA. They said: “We are calling for the renewal of this critical program, especially in these difficult times and most importantly because the companies that use it are now involved in efforts to manufacture and distribute the PPE they urgently need. . ”