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.
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye