US and African textiles groups appeal for renewal of AGOA

africa textiles optThe associations appealing to the US Congress have suggested renewing the third-country fabric provision for the entire term of the AGOA. (Image source: Potjie/Flickr)Textiles and garments associations in the USA and Africa have appealed to the American Congress to renew the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which provides certain goods from African companies trade preferences in the US market

According to a joint statement, the petition was filed by the National Retail Federation, the African Cotton and Textile Industries Federation (ACTIF), the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and the United States Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel (USA-ITA).

AGOA, which came into effect in 2000, originally covered an eight-year period. But some amendments were made in 2004 that extended the term of this act to 2015. The act extends to all apparel manufacturers, brands and retailers in the African continent and the US.

As a result of this act, more than 300,000 direct jobs were reportedly created in Africa's textiles and garments industry and also aided the US apparels manufacturing and retail industry.

The National Retail Federation said, “The AGOA must be renewed ideally during 2013, but no later than 2014, as sourcing decisions are made many months in advance. Renewal needs to occur soon for it to be truly seamless.”

The federation added that renewing this act as late as 2015 may discourage new investments and sourcing of materials in the US and African textiles industry.

The associations appealing to the US Congress have suggested to renew the AGOA for a period of 15 years, along with the renewal of the third-country fabric provision for the entire term of the act. Under this provision, beneficiary countries are allowed to source inputs like textiles designs and chemicals used in the manufacturing process, from nations that are not part of the AGOA.

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