Don't Let It Expire - Help To Keep 150,000 Jobs In Africa! - U2 Feedback

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Old 12-07-2006, 10:44 PM   #1
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Don't Let It Expire - Help To Keep 150,000 Jobs In Africa!

Within the next week, Congress will take up for consideration a bill which may appear to mean very little to you or me - but means a world of difference to at least 150,000 families in Africa.


It's the renewal of AGOA - the African Growth and Opportunity Act which was signed into law in 2000 and has helped at least 150,000 African families begin to lift themselves out of extreme poverty.



Right now, Congress is considering renewing AGOA without a key provision of the bill - the "third country fabric allowance".


Simply, this provision allows manufacturers to import fabric which is made in other countries to African countries and allow the people in these African countries to assemble clothing from these fabrics.



This keeps the cost of production down and makes operating clothing factories MORE AFFORDABLE in African countries like Lesotho (where EDUN and GAP (RED) tees are produced), Tanzania, Uganda and elsewhere around the Continent.



Here is a recent email from ONE regarding this situation. I wholeheartedly urge you to CONTACT YOUR SENATORS TODAY AND LET THEM KNOW THAT YOU WOULD LIKE FOR THEM TO VOTE FOR HR 6142 when it comes before the Senate with the "third country fabric allowance" in the bill.



Thank you for caring about the world's poorest people.



Dear ONE Member,


Unless we take action now, up to 150,000 Africans, mostly women, could lose their jobs.


The "third-country fabric" provision of African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) must be renewed before the end of the year. This provision helps African businesses create jobs by allowing them to import fabric that they can then make into clothes to sell in the United States.



In September, you and other ONE Members sent over 160,000 letters to members of Congress. We took out a full page ad in Roll Call, a daily newspaper read by members of Congress, with the names of ONE members who supported renewal of this important provision. We can now build on that momentum by reminding our representatives about this pressing issue today.


Please take a moment to write your Representatives



AGOA passed in 2000 and increased trade opportunities in Africa giving some of the world's poorest people new opportunities to earn a steady income, send their children to school, and build a hopeful future. But the crucial "third-country fabric" provision is set to expire next year.



Your action showed Congress that you support renewing this provision that's helping Africans continue to work their way out of poverty. Your efforts helped put this on the negotiating table, and now we have one last chance to ensure that it's passed before this Congress adjourns.



Please take a moment to write your Representatives



Without it, hope for many who have benefited from AGOA will fade and tens of thousands could lose their opportunity to work their way out of poverty.



Thank you for your voice,

Josh Peck, ONE.org


http://action.one.org/blog/comments....try_KEY=280&t=
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Old 12-07-2006, 10:53 PM   #2
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oh wow, I didn't realize this was coming up again. On a personal note, a lot of the work I did while a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa was in helping hand-crafts workers take advantage of this act. It definitely has the potential to help inject some money into poor economies such as Mali, where I lived.

I definitely encourage anyone who's interested to help with this.
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Old 12-08-2006, 12:16 AM   #3
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Originally posted by sulawesigirl4
oh wow, I didn't realize this was coming up again. On a personal note, a lot of the work I did while a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa was in helping hand-crafts workers take advantage of this act. It definitely has the potential to help inject some money into poor economies such as Mali, where I lived.

I definitely encourage anyone who's interested to help with this.



Thanks for your support on this, sulawesigirl4 - the people of Africa can truly use all the friends that they can get on this one.




Here is an editorial from the LA Times which lists some very good reasons why they support the renewal of AGOA as it is:



EDITORIAL

Don't punish African clothesmakers

Congress should avoid the political entanglements and extend trade legislation vital to the poorest continent.



November 27, 2006


OF ALL THE free-trade pacts signed by the United States over the last decade, perhaps none is as uncontroversial as the African Growth and Opportunity Act. Providing duty-free access to exporters in sub-Saharan Africa threatens few if any American jobs while spurring industry in some of the poorest countries in the world. Yet a vital provision of the act is set to expire, and, for the moment, Congress appears more interested in political gamesmanship than in making a painless decision to help some of the world's neediest people.



The language in question involves African clothing made from non-African fabric. Because of a scarcity of fabric mills, apparel makers in countries such as Kenya and Lesotho have to import most of their raw material from elsewhere — usually Asia. That adds considerable expense and time, so duty-free status is about the only thing that keeps African clothing makers competitive in the U.S. market.



If that provision is not renewed in September 2007, as many as 150,000 jobs in Africa's fledgling apparel industry might be lost. Ten months might seem a long time away, but an extension is urgently needed now because apparel companies typically place their orders from nine to 12 months in advance.



The last time an extension of an AGOA provision came up, in 2004, it passed unanimously in both houses of Congress. This time, things have become more political. Though extending the third-country fabric provision still enjoys broad bipartisan support — even the fiercely protectionist U.S. textile industry isn't opposing it — the bill may be folded into a much broader and more controversial piece of trade legislation.



Republican Rep. Bill Thomas of Bakersfield, outgoing chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, is said to be working on a package that would bundle the AGOA with various tax breaks and trade priorities, such as a free-trade pact with Andean nations and new preferences for Haitian apparel, that are heavily opposed by American textile producers. It's a mostly worthwhile package that will face serious opposition in an increasingly protectionist House — one that will get even more anti-trade when the Democrats take control in January.



The livelihoods of too many people are at stake. Thomas should expedite the AGOA bill as is, rather than allow it to be held hostage by his other priorities. And the Democrats who will be taking over the House need to understand that poverty isn't confined to Africa; trade deals with Haiti and the Andes are just as important, even if they stir more opposition from U.S. unions and manufacturers. You cannot credibly claim to weep for the poor while simultaneously blocking them from selling you shirts. Trade is exponentially more powerful than aid, and deeds mean more than words.

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Old 12-08-2006, 12:17 AM   #4
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http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/...inion-leftrail


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Old 12-08-2006, 09:41 PM   #5
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GOOD NEWS to report today!


(from www.one.org)


Victory! The AGOA bill just passed in the House with a vote of 212 to 184. This is a great reason to celebrate tonight!


Thank you to everyone for all your work.



Remember though, to keep the growing apparel industry in Africa out of jeopardy, the Senate must also pass the bill. If you haven't already, call (202-224-3121) and send a letter online to your Senators telling them to help trade in the world's poorest countries by supporting the trade and tax bill which contains the AGOA provision.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The first hurdle has been successfully crossed in the effort to RENEW AGOA INTACT with its passage in the House of Representatives.


Now, it's on to the Senate.


Thank you if you have already participated in this effort. There is still time for you to join us by contacting your Senators and letting them know of your support for the renewal of AGOA with the "third country fabric allowance".


Together, UNITED AS ONE, we can change the world.
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Old 12-08-2006, 10:33 PM   #6
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read this late but sent a letter anyway.
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Old 12-08-2006, 11:05 PM   #7
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Actually, JCOSTER, sending your emails and letters and making your phone calls to the Senate right now is the BEST thing that you can do to help save AGOA and to keep it intact!


So I think that you did the right thing. Thanks so much for caring about the world's poorest people.
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Old 12-08-2006, 11:43 PM   #8
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sure no problem...we also sponsor 2 children from Africa and my 2 kids are so aware of the issues there I am very proud of them.
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Old 12-09-2006, 06:34 AM   #9
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Old 12-09-2006, 10:04 PM   #10
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(from www.one.org)


An Early 'Happy Holidays' From the U.S. Congress


Well, as you can tell from that last post, it was late night around here, but at 1:27 AM we were all rewarded with great news: a 79-9 victorious vote in the Senate.


Passing AGOA before adjourning Congress for the holidays was a clear opportunity for the Democratic and Republican parties to work together to take a lead in the fight against extreme poverty.


Fabric mills are scarce in Africa, so apparel makers in places like Lesotho and Kenya import raw fabric from other countries, often Asia. This process is expensive and the duty-free status of African-manufactured clothing is one of the biggest reasons why African clothing makers are able to compete in the U.S. market.



Since AGOA was originally created in 2000, the provision has created hundreds of thousands of jobs in countries with some of the highest rates of unemployment in the world. If Congress hadn't renewed AGOA early today, as many as 150,000 Africans could have lost their jobs and their abilities to contribute to their local economies.


With the President's signature, AGOA will be extended to 2012, allowing businesses more ability and reason to invest in this growing industry. I am honored to work among so many in our movement who helped make this happen and am thrilled to be able to follow the positive impact of this extension over the next five years.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

http://action.one.org/blog/



Thank you to all who participated in this action alert and who helped to save the economic futures of at least 150,00 African families!


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Old 12-09-2006, 10:13 PM   #11
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I'm glad this passed the Senate.
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