ALFA FARMERS PRESIDENT ATTENDS SIGNING OF TRADE AGREEMENT
MONTGOMERY Alabama Farmers Federation President Jerry Newby attended a formal signing ceremony on the White House south lawn with President Clinton here today that will open new markets for American-grown cotton.
Newby, an Athens cotton farmer, is president of the state's largest farm organization. He met with Alabama's congressional delegation earlier this year seeking support for the legislation that removes duties and quotas on certain Caribbean apparel exports that are made from U.S. textile components. All of Alabama's delegation that voted on the issue, cast ballots in favor of the agreement.
"Removal of those restrictions will encourage U.S. firms to use American cotton yarn and/or fabric with further processing in the Caribbean," Newby said. "This agreement will enhance cotton producer income while improving U.S. cotton competitiveness against increasing imports from Asia. Prices that producers receive for cotton has decreased significantly and additional markets can mean an increase in profits for farmers."
In preparation for the new markets, U.S. textile manufacturers have begun building partnerships with Caribbean textile operations. The National Cotton Council's export promotions division, Cotton Council International, has conducted two trade fairs, one in Costa Rica and one in Guatemala.
The legislation also contains trade preferences for an eight-year period of apparel imported from sub-Saharan Africa. It grants unlimited duty-and quota-free access from apparel made in Africa from U.S. textile components and grants similar preferences for a limited amount of apparel made in African countries.