Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today introduced the Nepal Trade Preferences Act, a bill to allow the duty-free import of textiles and apparel products from Nepal for 10 years.
“The once-thriving Nepalese garment industry has suffered tremendously since the 2005 elimination of the global garment quota, cementing Nepal’s place as one of Asia’s poorest countries. This is why I believe we should treat Nepalese imports the same way we treat those from other developing countries,” Feinstein said. “Despite constituting less than half of a percent of U.S. garment and textile imports, Nepalese garments are still subject to an average U.S. tariff of 11.7 percent and can be as high as 32 percent. This just doesn’t make sense for such an impoverished nation.”
Feinstein added: “As a close friend of the Nepalese people, the United States should do what we can to promote economic development without hurting American companies. That is exactly what this bill does.”
More specifically, the bill:
- Authorizes the president to provide duty-free treatment to products from Nepal if it meets the same eligibility requirements outlined in the African Growth and Opportunity Act;
- Stipulates that the covered products cannot be import-sensitive and 35% of their value must be derived from Nepal.
- Defines the eligible products as textiles and apparel assembled in Nepal as well as hand loomed, handmade, folklore articles and ethnic printed fabrics;
- Limits the total volume of duty-free imports at 1.5% of total U.S. textile and apparel imports.
- Authorizes the duty-free treatment to be extended on an annual basis for up to ten years.
The text of the bill can be found here.