The United States should not withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), but seek to improve it, VF Corporation vice president and managing director product supply-Americas, Randy Price said, while testifying recently before the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR). Price testified along with a host of business leaders.
In his testimony, Price recommended the US Administration use caution as they explore potential changes to aspects of the NAFTA textile and apparel rules and flexibilities. He also testified that while there is room for improvement in the agreement, any changes should increase competitiveness and flexibility.
“We recommend focusing on growing NAFTA trade, not contracting it,” Price said. “If you look at potential changes to NAFTA, any changes you make will impact existing business and trade built over decades and impact jobs in the United States,” Price said.
Explaining why NAFTA matters to VF’s business, Price said, “I see every day how NAFTA has supported an integrated textile and apparel supply chain that has helped VF grow and thrive and benefited our US suppliers.”
“NAFTA supports tens of thousands of VF jobs in the United States as well as tens of thousands of jobs at our U.S. suppliers who grow the cotton and make the materials that go into our NAFTA-made products. NAFTA has been good for our industry,” he added.
Citing an example he said, a pair of Wrangler brand jeans assembled in one of VF’s Mexican factories uses cotton from Texas, fabrics and zippers from Georgia, and threads from North Carolina. This process supports thousands of jobs across the United States. “Without NAFTA there would be significantly less demand for these US exports, and our VF supply chain in the US, Mexico and Canada would be much smaller,” Price said.
Business leaders who testified before the USTR included those from the US Fashion Industry Association, the National Council of Textile Organizations and the American Apparel and Footwear Association. (RKS)