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Patti Stewart, Alexandria, Minn., Published July 01 2013

Letter: US textile industry faces a major threat

As a small-business owner who deals in clothing and textiles, I am concerned about international trade developments that could impact the U.S. textile industry.

The Vietnamese government is demanding that the yarn forward rule of origin be removed from the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, which would be disastrous for the U.S. textile industry. The yarn forward rule dictates that a textile good cannot be duty free unless it has been sourced, from the yarn stage forward, from one of the countries party to the free trade agreement. This keeps jobs and revenue generated by the free trade agreement within the countries party to the free trade agreement; the yarn forward rule has been used in all U.S. free trade agreements for the past 25 years.

The absence of the yarn forward rule would allow Vietnam to flood the U.S. market with inexpensive textiles sourced from China; their presence in the U.S. textile market would increase from 7 to 30 percent and 500,000 American textile workers would lose their jobs. The U.S. textile industry would be left in shambles.

I would encourage our congressional delegation to sign the Textile Caucus’ letter to the U.S. trade representative urging the inclusion of the yarn forward rule in the final TPP agreement.