Free Market Debate

Both the America Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) and the National Retail Federation (NRF) have thrown their support behind a new government proposal to eliminate all consumer and industrial goods tariffs worldwide by 2015. The proposal, issued by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, would amount to a “Planet Earth Free Trade Agreement,” said Kevin M. Burke, AAFA president and chief executive office. The American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI) issued a statement blasting the proposal, saying it will “devastate” the U.S. textile industry and damage any potential export markets for U.S. textiles. ATMI chairman Van May said the proposal threatens to “wipe out more than $13 billion worth of textile exports (which include cut pieces) to the countries of the Caribbean, the Andean Pact nations and our NAFTA [North American Free Trade Agreement] partners, Mexico and Canada.”