WASHINGTON — House and Senate negotiators crafted compromise trade legislation Thursday, ending an impasse between two key committee chairmen and reconciling differences in their separate bills.
They planned to put the legislation to a vote despite strong opposition from textile-state lawmakers on trade preferences for Haiti and bipartisan concerns over granting Vietnam elevated trade status.
The House was set to vote on the omnibus bill Thursday night. The measure would provide more certainty to importers making apparel in sub-Saharan Africa, the Andean region, Vietnam and Haiti. Critics, however, said it would threaten to displace millions of dollars in U.S. fabric and yarn exports.
The compromise would grant permanent normal trade relations to Vietnam. It also would extend benefits for expiring trade preference programs for the sub-Saharan African countries, the Andean countries of Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia, and the generalized system of preferences program. In addition, the legislation would create new and expanded benefits and rules of origin for apparel production in Haiti and suspend and reduce duty on hundreds of imported products that were covered in a miscellaneous tariff bill.
“This is a strong bipartisan compromise package that meets our trade needs and worldwide humanitarian and economic obligations,” Rep. Bill Thomas (R., Calif.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said in a statement. “It extends a number of important expiring trade incentives for developing countries.’’
If the bill clears the House, it would go to the Senate, where hurdles remain because of opposition to trade provisions for Vietnam and Haiti.
Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R., N.C.) disagreed with provisions that would expand duty free benefits to apparel imports from Haiti. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) has stated objections to the Haiti provisions, textile industry sources said.
Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) and Gordon Smith (R., Ore.) have made their votes on the provisions for Vietnam contingent on clarifications of a commitment the Bush administration made to Dole and Graham to monitor Vietnamese imports and possibly undertake antidumping cases.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R., Tenn.) could try to overcome possible holds on the trade bill by filing a motion for cloture, which would end debate if the motion were supported by at least 60 members. The Senate could vote on the bill this week.The key provisions in the bill include:
New rules of origin for apparel: 50 percent of the value of finished products must be from the U.S., Haiti or any country with which the U.S. has free trade agreements or preference programs in the first three years, growing to 60 percent in the fifth year. It also allows a “single transformation” rule of origin for bras, which means components can be sourced from anywhere as long as they are assembled in Haiti, and provides for a foreign fabric and yarn allowance for woven apparel of 50 million square meters equivalent in the first two years, which is reduced to 33.5 million SMEs in the third year.
Extending the current third-country fabric provision allowing companies in designated sub-Saharan African countries to use any foreign fabric and yarns in apparel until 2012, with a 3.5 percent cap.
Extending for six months duty free benefits in a trade preference program that expires at the end of the year for Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia, and adding another six months for each country that has completed free trade agreements with the U.S.
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over the top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty