US fashion industry association calls for 15-year extension of AGOA Act
Six US and African based textile and apparel trade bodies, including the United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA), called for renewal of the African Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA), expiring on September 30, 2015.
They requested for a long-term renewal, at least for a period of 15 years, which includes extending the third-country fabric provision to all AGOA-signatory countries.
AGOA is a US-Africa trade deal in effect since 2001 and grants duty free access to the US market for qualifying African States, without requiring any market opening in return. Forty three countries of sub-Saharan Africa are eligible for AGOA preferences, provided they meet certain conditions.
“AGOA not only allows US 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 concluded.
Other trade bodies which have appealed for the extension 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).
The Act which is a US-Africa trade deal that has been in effect since 2001 is expected to expire by September 30, 2015.
The United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) represents the fashion industry: textile and apparel brands, retailers, importers, and wholesalers based in the United States and doing business globally.