U.S. apparel and footwear manufacturers, brands, and retailers applauded the overwhelming U.S. Senate action to renew the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and urged the House to follow suit.
The AGOA plays a vital role in the development and support of a competitive U.S.-African textile, apparel and footwear trade partnership, according to a statement released by seven trade groups, including American Apparel and Footwear Association, Outdoor Industry Association and the Footwear Distributors and Retailers Association.
“This long-term AGOA renewal is a critical step to develop a broader reciprocal commercial trade relationship with AGOA countries,” the statement said. “AGOA has created more than 350,000 direct jobs in apparel production in Africa and an estimated 100,000 jobs in the U.S. Originally enacted in 2000, AGOA continues to enjoy widespread bipartisan support. With the Senate vote of 97 to 1 to approve extension, we ask the House to move quickly on renewal.”
The group urged the House to vote as soon as possible for:
- Immediate renewal: AGOA must be renewed as soon as possible. Because sourcing decisions are made many months in advance, any delay in passage will discourage continued sourcing and new investment, and will result in the loss of trade and jobs in both Africa and the U.S. In 2012, 30,000 jobs were eliminated in Africa because Congress waited until the last minute to renew the AGOA third country fabric rule of origin. That number is sure to grow because many more jobsboth in Africa and the U.S.- are now at stake. These sourcing decisions are actually happening now as Congress is set to vote on the extension.
- Long-term renewal: Renewal of AGOA for ten years will ensure the predictability necessary to support trade and investment decisions. This will support the industry’s capital-intensive investments and maintain long-term sourcing partnership decisions.
Our organizations are committed to working with other stakeholders to achieve these objectives to support African trade and development, as well as the U.S. jobs that depend on that trade partnership.