AAFA calls for renewal of trade programs, welcomes stimulus
Posted December 22, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) expressed disappointment and regret at inaction by Congress, leading to a lapse in two critical trade preference programs – the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) – imposing a tax increase on American workers, American consumers and American businesses at a time when they can least afford it.
"Today, Congress allowed the GSP and MTB programs, initiatives that have been supported for decades by overwhelming bipartisan majorities, to lapse. The cessation of these programs benefits no one but hurts many, at a time when they can least afford it," said AAFA president and CEO Steve Lamar.
“On a day when Congress passed much needed COVID relief, today’s inaction on these two critical bills will lead to tariff increases – in other words, tax increases – for the holidays on American workers, American consumers, American businesses and the U.S. economy,” he added. "AAFA urges the 117th Congress to swiftly reauthorize, and retroactively renew, both programs to minimize the damage as much as possible.”
Separately, the AAFA said it welcomed the news that Congress had come to an agreement on a new stimulus deal to inject an additional $900 billion into the economy. At the same time, the association emphasized that more would need to be done to support the U.S. economy in 2021.
“With the extension of the paycheck protection program and new unemployment benefits, the stimulus deal helps American businesses and American families when we need it most,” said Lamar. “COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on our world and created an economic crisis unlike any previous. While this new bill provides essential aid, it is only a down payment on what the American economy needs to make it to the other side. The job is not done, and more work will be needed in 2021. This will be job one for the incoming Administration and the new Congress, and we look forward to working with them, and our diverse coalition, to save the American economy.”
AAFA is a member of the COVID RELIEF NOW coalition, which is representing the interests of a diverse segment of the economy that has been calling for further stimulus measures. Among the measures that the association supports: trade credit insurance; expansion of the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC); legal liability protection; return to work incentives; Healthy Workplaces Tax Credit; and duty drawback for charitable donations.