WASHINGTON — The Senate overwhelmingly passed a free trade agreement with Peru Tuesday and sent the first trade agreement of the year to President Bush's desk for his signature.
The trade accord with Peru, which the Senate passed on a vote of 77-18, would make duty free benefits permanent and provide certainty to companies manufacturing apparel in Peru.
Apparel importers brought in $857.6 million worth of apparel and textiles from Peru for the year ended Sept. 30, under a U.S. trade program that provides a duty free advantage to companies making apparel in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Bolivia, but Congress must vote to renew that program periodically.
Importers are also pressing Congress to pass a more permanent trade pact with Colombia, but there is strong opposition to it and Democratic leaders have said they will push it off until next year.
The textile industry remained divided over Peru, which represents a small market for U.S. producers that exported $24 million worth of fabrics and yarns to the country in the last 12 months.
Senate leaders moved ahead with the vote on Peru despite some opposition from organized labor and a group of Democrats, including freshmen, who were elected on platforms to minimize the impact of international trade on companies and workers in their states.
Sen. Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, whose panel shepherded the Peru accord to the floor, said it represents a new model with stronger labor and environmental protections. Baucus and House leaders reached an agreement with the Bush administration in May to strengthen workers' rights and environmental standards in the Peru deal, as well as in pending trade pacts with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.
"Some may criticize this agreement as not going far enough," said Baucus during his floor speech Tuesday. "But these [stronger and enforceable labor and environmental] provisions are, in fact, exactly what many of us in Congress and in the labor and environmental movements have been seeking to include in trade agreements for decades."
Baucus drew the line on moving other free trade deals, however, noting that Congress must pass an overhaul of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, which gives aid to workers who lose their jobs because of foreign competition, before taking up the other three pending trade deals.Democrats who opposed the Peru pact argued on the Senate floor for trade deals to be put on hold until issues with China's trade and currency policies are addressed and the record trade deficit with that country is narrowed. The House passed the trade agreement last month.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast