Representatives of many companies in the U.S. apparel industry agreed here on Friday that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement should boost trade in the apparel industry first.

A delegation representing high-profile associations stateside such as the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) and Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) had a meeting with many Vietnamese businesses in textile and garment industry. The aim of the conference in HCMC on Friday was to help Vietnam’s apparel enterprises learn more about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement that is under negotiation among countries concerned.

The conference was also meant for enterprises to get engaged in the trade agreement by raising their voices to the governments, said Stephen Lamar, executive vice president of AAFA.

Stephanie Lester, vice president of RILA, told local media that TPP was considered an opportunity to create new trade and investment in the apparel industry. Therefore, the association is having actions to talk to negotiators and the U.S. Congress.

Vietnam’s apparel export alone has contributed 61% of total tax collection of the U.S. from eight TPP countries in all products, said Stephen Lamar of AAFA.

“We want the tax contribution which is currently too high to be reduced as much as possible,” said Stephen.

Besides, Stephanie from RILA suggested that Vietnam be more transparent in customs documents to support trade, adding that she was really optimistic about potential opportunities the TPP will bring about for the apparel industry.

Last year, Vietnam exported US$6 billion worth of apparel products to the U.S. market, which accounts for 55% of Vietnam’s total textile and apparel exports.

The TPP is under negotiations by nine countries, and the seventh round of talks is to be held in Vietnam this month.

Jul 2 2011