Gulf Daily News | Friday, June 27, 2014
US company is seeking extension of FTA clause
By Avinash Saxena
MANAMA: West Point Home (WPH), a leading textile manufacturer in the US, has announced it is using the offices of American Chamber of Commerce Bahrain (AmCham Bahrain) to advocate extension of the tariff preference level (TPL) as part of the free trade agreement (FTA) between the US and Bahrain.
This follows a meeting between WPH vice-president for international manufacturing and operations Billy Harris and AmCham Bahrain president Qays Hatim Zu’bi.
"An extension to the FTA TPL would enable us to ship up to 50 million yards annually to the US," Mr Harris said.
In 2006, WPH purchased Manama Textile and turned WestPoint Bahrain into the largest home textile manufacturer in the region.
The US-Bahrain FTA, which entered into force on January 11, 2006, contains the industry-supported "yarn forward", limiting allowances for the use of yarn and fabric from a non-party under a TPL.
The TPL in the Bahrain FTA is temporary.
It is set at a level of 65m square metres equivalent (sme) for the first 10 years of the FTA.
The TPL is equal to 0.1 per cent of total US imports of textiles and apparel.
After the TPL expires, all trade under the Bahrain FTA must adhere to the yarn-forward rule of origin.
"We recently hosted a visiting US Senate delegation to highlight how companies have successfully used the FTA to their benefit," Mr Zu’bi said.
"They were very impressed with what is manufactured here in Bahrain and how WestPoint Bahrain supports job creation and growth both in Bahrain and the US."
Discussions at the meeting also focused on business opportunities and job creation by WPH in Bahrain.
It also discussed how AmCham can support WPH’s efforts to build their network and further their business development efforts throughout the Middle East and North Africa region including the introduction of their locally produced products to hotels in the regional markets.