By  on July 25, 2014

The American Apparel & Footwear Association brought more than two dozen apparel, footwear and retail executives to Capitol Hill this week to lobby for key international trade policies and programs.

The visits came as part of a three-day series of meetings at which AAFA members identified trade priorities for the coming year. Those priorities include:

• Renewal of an expiring Nicaragua trade program and renewal and update of the expired Generalized System of Preferences program.

• Passage of presidential trade promotion authority.

• Preservation of the First Sale customs valuation program.

• Early renewal of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, set to expire in 2015.

• Implementation of a global trade facilitation agreement, which U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said Friday was in jeopardy at the World Trade Organization.

• Passage of the expired miscellaneous tariff bill package.

“With 98 percent of our footwear produced offshore, 97 percent of our apparel produced offshore, and 95 percent of the people who wear clothes and shoes on the planet living offshore, it is clear that two-way trade liberalization and open markets are key to the four million U.S. workers employed by the American apparel and footwear industries,” said Juanita D. Duggan, president and chief executive officer of the AAFA. “We need Congress and the administration to get back to work, renew expired and expiring trade programs, and move forward on the U.S. trade agenda.”

During the visits, AAFA members met with home state senators and representatives as well as the Senate Finance Committee, the House Ways and Means Committee and the Congressional leadership. This week’s visit also marked the inaugural advocacy day of the newly formed Legwear Committee that was created to serve as the single unified voice of the U.S. legwear industry and the 300,000 Americans it employs.

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