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AAFA applauds House passage of Burma import ban renewal

By American Apparel & Footwear Association  •  July 15, 2010

The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) applauded the U.S. House of Representatives for voting to renew the total ban on imports from Burma under the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003. The affirmative voice vote came on the heels of a key vote letter AAFA sent to every member of the House urging for swift passage of the measure.

“AAFA continues to strongly support the total ban of imports from Burma because it sends a clear and unmistakable message that we are not interested in doing business with oppressive regimes like the one that brutally enslaves the people of Burma,” said AAFA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke. “By renewing this ban, the United States can reaffirm our commitments to human rights around the world. I now call on the Senate to follow as quickly as possible so that President Obama can sign the renewal well before the ban is set to expire on July 26, 2010.”

“Oppression is a commodity that cannot be tolerated in the global market,” Burke said. “The real impact of these sanctions will only be felt when the world community joins the United States in a multilateral effort to being freedom to the people of Burma.”

AAFA was the first business organization to call for the original ban on all U.S. imports from Burma in 2003 and has been a strong advocate for its renewal in subsequent years. The current House bill (H.J. Res. 83), sponsored by Representative Joseph Crowley (D-NY) and cosponsored by Representative Peter King (R-NY) and twenty others, would maintain import restrictions against the ruling military junta in Burma for one year.

While the current total import ban is set to expire on July 26, 2010, Burma continues to be cited by numerous organizations and governments for widespread human rights violations.

As the most recent U.S. State Department Human Rights Report states, the ruling military junta continues to routinely infringe on citizens’ privacy and restricted freedom of speech, press, assembly, association, religion and movement. In light of the upcoming multi-party elections and the ruling military junta’s ban on participation in those elections by General Secretary of the National League for Democracy (NLD) Aung San Suu Kyi and her party, the party that won the last multi-party elections in 1990 by a landslide, it is now the time to reinforce our sanctions tools against Burma’s government.

The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) is the national trade association representing apparel, footwear and other sewn products companies, and their suppliers, which compete in the global market. AAFA’s mission is to promote and enhance its members’ competitiveness, productivity and profitability in the global market by minimizing regulatory, commercial, political, and trade restraints.

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