Letter Regarding Preferential Trade Benefits for Haiti
NCC, ATMI and AYSA convey in letter to Sen. Baucus strong opposition to any effort to extend preferential trade benefits under the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA) to apparel assembled in Haiti using fabric or yarn from outside the U.S. or the Caribbean region.
October 1, 2002
The Honorable Max Baucus, Chairman
Committee on Finance
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Mr. Chairman:
On behalf of our respective organizations, whose members represent a significant portion of U.S. cotton, yarn and fabric production capacity, this is to convey our strong opposition to any effort to extend preferential trade benefits under the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA) to apparel assembled in Haiti using fabric or yarn from outside the U.S. or the Caribbean region. We understand that an effort may be made to include such a provision in the Miscellaneous Trade and Technical Corrections Act of 2002, which could be considered by the Finance Committee at any time.
Allowing Haiti to use so-called "third-country" textile components when they are readily available from U.S. or Caribbean sources would wipe out benefits Congress specifically intended to accrue to U.S. and Caribbean producers in legislation thoroughly debated and implemented over an extended period of time. The extension of benefits to Haitian apparel assembled with third-party components would provide preferential access to U.S. markets for Asian-produced fibers, yarns and fabrics at the expense of U.S. farmers and manufacturing jobs.
Haiti is the lowest cost producer in the Caribbean region and is poised to become a major apparel exporter. However, giving Haiti the ability to use third country components will cause significant damage to a prime export market for U.S. textiles made of U.S. cotton. It will also disadvantage other Caribbean countries that might otherwise be able to sell their fabric to Haitian garment makers under the current law’s regional fabric allowance.
Accordingly, we request that you object to inclusion of any such provisions as part of the Miscellaneous Trade and Technical Corrections Act, or to passage of such provision in any other legislation which might be considered.
Gaylon Booker, President
National Cotton Council of America
Parks Shackelford, President
American Textile Manufacturers Institute
Michael Hubbard, Executive Vice President
American Yarn Spinners Association