WASHINGTON — The September 2004 expiration of a U.S. trade provision allowing the poorest sub-Saharan African countries to use textiles from any country in making apparel, given duty-free breaks, should be extended only for a limited time, according to Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R., Calif.).

The benefit, approved in 2000 in the Africa Growth & Opportunity Act and expanded last year by Congress, is designed to jump-start apparel industries in lesser developed African countries. Other countries covered by AGOA are required to use African or U.S. textiles in order to receive the duty-free benefit.

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