U.S. trade associations representing the fiber, textile, apparel, import, and retail industries wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, urging her to take immediate steps to restore stability in Honduras, a country that does billions of dollars of business with the United States in those sectors.
In the letter, the groups said that the current political crisis in Honduras "has caused commercial traffic to falter dramatically, and textile and apparel plants in United States and Honduras are already being idled and workers told to go home."
"We urge the U.S. government to work with the Honduran government in order to ensure that commerce is fully restored in the region before the textile and apparel sectors of the U.S. and CAFTA region are further harmed,” the letter said.
By some estimates, Honduras' $14.1 billion economy has lost as much as $200 million in foreign investment since the Honduran military ousted elected President Manuel Zelaya from office on June 28. Acting president Roberto Micheletti ordered a military-enforced curfew on Sept. 21 after Zelaya snuck back into Honduras and took shelter at the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa, the capital. Micheletti said that he imposed the curfew because Zelaya's supporters surrounded the Brazilian embassy and "incited" violence. The trade associations did not specify what measures they believe the United States should undertake to ensure that commerce between the United States and Honduras is fully restored.
The trade groups explained in their letter to Secretary Clinton that the U.S.-Central America textile complex "is a large interconnected textile platform where yarns, fabrics and other components often cross multiple country borders before the final garment is produced. If any one of these segments of the process is significantly interrupted -- as has been occurring in Honduras -- work quickly stops everywhere."
"Dozens of U.S. textile mills have already reported that work has been curtailed and plants have been partially or completely shut down. In the CAFTA region, the same impact is being felt at apparel plants across the region because they cannot get components from Honduras or get products through the port of Puerto Cortes, the principal port for CAFTA trade in the region,” the letter said.
The letter was signed by the following trade associations: American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA); American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition (AMTAC); National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO); National Textile Association (NTA); National Cotton Council (NCC); and the U.S. Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel (USA-ITA).
Contact Alan M. Field at email@example.com.