Jul 10, 2013
WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Patrick McHenry (NC-10) sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman asking that he continue to support strong textile rules during future rounds of negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The letter, which was cosigned by 167 Members of Congress, expresses concerns about positions taken by the Vietnamese government in the textile negotiations that could have significant negative impacts on the U.S. textile industry and its export partners.
The Vietnamese government has attempted to change long standing rules to allow the sourcing of textiles from China to the United States duty free. This change could lead to the loss of more than 500,000 textile jobs in the U.S. and another 1.5 million jobs in the textile supply chains in the Western Hemisphere and Africa.
The letter specifically mentions the importance of the yarn-forward rule which ensures that only countries within a free trade region, such as TPP, receive benefits from the agreement. This rule, which has been a part of all recent free trade agreements, is responsible for over $25 billion of trade between the United States and other countries. Without this rule, state-owned Vietnamese companies would have the ability to flood the U.S. market with subsidized Chinese imports that would take significant market share from small and medium sized textile companies in the U.S.
"Strong rules are necessary to protect the 10th District's remaining textile industry and ensure that no more good-paying North Carolina jobs are lost because of another unfair trade deal that disproportionately harms American textile workers,” said Congressman McHenry. “This agreement must be fairly constructed to protect and maintain investment in the many small and medium-sized textile businesses in the 10th District that would be affected by it. The textile industry is one of North Carolina's most important industries and the jobs of numerous hard working Americans rely on us maintaining these strong textile rules.”
The 10th District of North Carolina has a long history of being one of the leading centers of textile manufacturing both in the United States and around the world. Currently, 86 textile companies maintain operations in the 10th District and over 120,000 people are employed in the industry statewide.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a regional free trade agreement currently being negotiated by the United States and 12 other countries of the Pacific Rim. The 18th formal round of negotiations will be taking place in Malaysia this July with negotiators hoping for a final agreement by October of 2013.
A copy of the letter can be found here