On September 1, 2010, the American Fiber Manufacturers Association, American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition, National Council of Textile Organizations, National Cotton Council, National Textile Association and US Industrial Fabrics Institute strongly objected to the US Chamber of Commerce’s proposal to grant Pakistan duty-free treatment for certain textile and apparel products imported into the United States, in order to address recent flooding in Pakistan. The Chamber’s proposal calls for inclusion of apparel in the list of eligible products and expansion of Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZ) to cover flood-ravaged regions in Pakistan. In a letter to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and US Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk, the US textile and cotton industry associations expressed support for the provision of humanitarian aid to assist with flood relief efforts in Pakistan as an alternative to the proposed expansion of the ROZ trade preference program. While the Chamber argues that expanded ROZ legislation would have no negative impact on US textile producers, the signatories to the September 1 letter maintain that the proposed legislation would cost more than 400,000 US jobs.
The House has passed ROZ legislation (H.R. 1886) that would, among other things, provide for the duty-free treatment of certain textile and apparel articles from an ROZ, but the corresponding Senate Bill (S. 496) is still pending in the Senate Finance Committee.