Washington, DC – The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) today praised the U.S. House of Representatives for approving H.R. 6560, which includes provisions to enhance and extend key trade preference programs. The legislation passed by the House last night honors commitments made in the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement to create a duty-free program for apparel imports from the Dominican Republic, enhances certain aspects of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, and extends for another year under existing terms the Generalized System of Preferences, which expires at the end of this year. The NFTC urged the Senate to approve the bill as soon as possible.
“Amid the discouraging news coming out of Geneva this week on the Doha Round negotiations, the leadership of House Ways and Means Chairman Rangel and ranking Member McCrery to move this important legislation reaffirms the United States’ commitment to free trade as a mechanism for development for the world’s impoverished nations, and assures American jobs through the ability to continue record levels of exports,” said NFTC President Bill Reinsch.
Reinsch continued, “In this uncertain political climate, making sure that America’s trade preference programs continue without interruption is critical to our economy and the developing world. We urge the Senate to move this legislation expeditiously.”
The NFTC also called on Congress to consider and approve the pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and Korea, work through remaining obstacles to pass an enhanced and modernized Trade Adjustment Assistance Program, and extend the Andean Trade Preference Act before its expiration at the end of this year.
“The action taken by the House shows that bipartisan cooperation to forge a positive U.S. trade agenda is possible. Both sides of the aisle should take note and find ways to work through the current stalemate,” Reinsch concluded.