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Fashion Law Legislative Update

By Hilary F. Jochmans

The headlines coming out of Washington DC recently have focused on the shutdown, the near default and the general toxic political environment. However, now that the government is once again open for business and we have averted defaulting on our debts, Congress can consider other legislative matters of particular interest to the fashion and retail communities, such as comprehensive tax reform, including on-line sales tax regulation, immigration, copyright reform, and the focus of this summary: trade.

Trade Promotion Authority

Granted by Congress, Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) allows the White House to submit trade agreements to Capitol Hill for a straight up-or-down vote without amendment. It is often seen as the key to completing trade deals, since other countries can be comforted that the U.S. Congress cannot change the final negotiated deal.

This authority has lapsed and President Obama is now seeking a renewal in order to conclude, by the end of the year, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). This regional free trade agreement, with 11 other countries in the Asia-Pacific Rim, would be the largest such deal in history and have major implications for the textiles, apparel, and footwear industries in the areas of labor, quotas, and tariffs.

TPA needs to be considered by the Senate Finance Committee, led by Democratic Senator Max Baucus from Montana, and the House Ways and Means Committee, led by Republican Dave Camp from Michigan. Interestingly, both of these elected officials have announced that they are retiring at the end of this Congressional year. To date, legislation re-authorizing TPA has not yet been introduced.

General Information

You may remember the old lottery commercial - "You've got to be in it to win it!" Well, that same axiom applies to government and politics. If there are issues you care about, then it is imperative to communicate this to your elected officials. Over 3,000 bills have been introduced in Congress this year, and the representatives need to hear from their constituents about which ones are of importance to them. You can learn who your representatives are and how to contact them, as well as track legislation at: www.congress.gov.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 20, 2013 8:39 PM.

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