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RILA lobbies for reform of U.S. trade programs


Arlington, Va. The Retail Industry Leaders Association led a coalition of non-governmental organizations and U.S. businesses urging Congress to review and reform preference programs that support trade liberalization for developing countries.

The coalition’s Proposal for U.S. Preference Program Reform seeks to preserve the best aspects of existing programs and repair ineffective provisions to deliver meaningful benefits to developing countries and the United States.

The group sent letters to key players among senate finance committees and U.S. trade representatives encouraging policymakers to replace the patchwork of current preference programs with a single, comprehensive trade preference program for developing countries. Among the suggestions are simple and straightforward rules of origin, broad product coverage, clear and predictable eligibility criteria for countries and products, and a strategic view to address country and product “graduations” that would encourage additional bilateral and multilateral trade between and among the United States and developing countries.

“U.S. trade preference programs have a profound positive effect on the reduction of poverty in the world’s poorest countries by creating new economic opportunities for people in the developing world, and here in the United States,” said Stephanie Lester, VP international trade, RILA.

Besides creating more meaningful trade benefits, the proposal seeks to bridge a more open global trading system.

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