Deputy United States Trade Representatives Sarah Bianchi and Jayme White co-chaired a roundtable discussion today with senior representatives of the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) to discuss how U.S. apparel brands and retailers can support new economic opportunities in Central America, especially in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, under the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR). Michael Pyle, Chief Economic Advisor to the Vice President, also participated.
The participants discussed recent shifts in global sourcing of apparel and related opportunities to expand sourcing of apparel for the U.S. market from the Western Hemisphere, including Central America. Senior executives of AAFA member companies shared their ideas for how U.S. trade policy can promote U.S. textile and apparel investment and incentivize production of a greater scale and variety of apparel products in the CAFTA-DR region. Ambassadors White and Bianchi underscored the importance of the agreement’s rules of origin in promoting investment in textile production and supporting manufacturing jobs in both Central America and the United States. They also expressed USTR’s commitment to work with AAFA and other stakeholders to promote greater reshoring and near-shoring of apparel production and to do so in a way that strengthens the North American supply chain for textiles and apparel.