WASHINGTON — Wrapping up the second round of trade negotiations with five Central American countries in Cincinnati on Friday, the U.S. proposed a strict yarn-forward rule of origin for apparel and textiles that allows for no exceptions.

The yarn-forward rule requires apparel to be made of yarn and fabric sourced within the free-trade area and among the free-trade partners. For example, yarn could come from Guatemala and be woven into fabric in Honduras or El Salvador, then assembled into apparel in Costa Rica or Nicaragua. About 16 percent of all apparel imported into the U.S. comes from the five Central American countries in negotiations. In 2002, imports from the five countries totaled 2.86 billion square meters equivalent, according to the Commerce Department. U.S. exports to the five countries last year amounted to about $9 billion in goods. Of that, more than $4 billion was textiles.

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