Importer group wants duties nixed

WASHINGTON -- With quota mostly gone, textiles and clothing should be part of a duty-free program for increasing imports, the U.S. Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel (USA-ITA) told U.S. Government officials today.

“To help less developed countries compete in a quota-free environment, and move up the development ladder, textiles and apparel must be a part of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP),” testified Robert Zane, chairman, USA-ITA. “With quotas gone, we now have an opportunity to focus on the other area of protectionism: duties.”

The GSP program, first established in 1975, lets goods manufactured in less developed countries enter the U.S. market duty-free. Textiles and apparel products have been barred from participating in the program, because they were subject to quotas. The current GSP program is scheduled to expire on Dec. 31, 2006 and will have to be reauthorized by Congress.

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