Byline: Jim Ostroff

WASHINGTON--The American Apparel Manufacturers Association on Friday decided not to oppose a controversial administration decision to limit Caribbean underwear imports, two weeks after the AAMA said it would fight this move to set quota.
Michael Gale, the AAMA's government relations director, said, "We are going to work closely with the government to insure that the needs of our members are met."
The decision follows a conference telephone call last Monday among about a dozen association member companies, most of which opposed the import limitation. The conference call was initiated by Ronald Sorini, Fruit of the Loom's senior vice president of government relations and international development, who urged the AAMA to support the action, according to sources.
In mid-April, Gale had criticized the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements for issuing this call to establish quota on cotton and man-made fiber underwear produced in the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Honduras and El Salvador, arguing AAMA member firms account for 92 percent of the imports from the Caribbean under the U.S.'s 807 programs. Currently, there is no quota on underwear from the Caribbean.
Under 807, apparel assembled in the Caribbean Basin using fabrics cut in the U.S. can be imported with only a value-added duty. Under 807(A), apparel assembled in the CBI using U.S.-made and cut fabric receives value-added tariff breaks and virtually unlimited quotas, dubbed Guaranteed Access Levels, or GALS.
Rita Hayes, CITA's chairman, said it would offer the CBI nations GALs for 807(A) production. But several AAMA members, led by Steven Masket, executive vice president and general counsel of Maidenform Worldwide, argued that 807(A) paperwork costs are excessive and many firms use regular 807, even though they use U.S.-formed and cut fabrics almost exclusively.--Fairchild News Service

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