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Retailers to Congress: Stop coddling textiles industry

Washington, DC — The National Retail Federation today fired off a letter to the House leadership to express its "outrage and disappointment" over concessions made with the textiles industry to ensure last week's passage of Trade Promotion Authority legislation.

Renewal of the TPA, which expired during the Clinton term, allows the president to negotiate trade pacts without passing them through Congress. The measure passed by just one vote — 215-214 — and in the deal-making process beforehand, House leaders promised that the next trade bill to come through will require that U.S. yarn and fabric used to produce goods in Caribbean and Andean nations must be dyed and finished in the U.S.

"It is particularly galling to find our interests ignored and matters of importance to our industry traded away in order to placate an industry that never supported TPA and has vehemently opposed nearly every major trade initiative," NRF president and ceo Tracy Mullin said in the letter to Congress. "It is high time for Congress and the federal government to stop treating the textile industry as some special case deserving of extraordinary treatment."

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