Senate’s $2 trillion war chest welcomed by AAFA

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2020-03-27 11:27:42 – None

The American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) has welcomed Senate approval of a US$2 trillion war chest which will ease the hardship felt by businesses across the country since the outbreak of the coronavirus which is now rampant in the states.

An estimated 3.3 million people filed for unemployment in the USA last week alone as it reels from a surge in coronavirus cases and a huge hit to its economy.

Senators have now agreed to the terms of a new bill which will provide direct payments of US$1,200 to millions of individuals who earn US$75,000 or less, and an additional US$500 per child. Whilst US$500bn is set aside to help companies via a loan system and US$350bn has been designated to support small businesses.

“For the past few weeks, our members have been laser-focused on ensuring the health and safety of their workers and customers. This is an unprecedented health crisis that has quickly become an unprecedented economic crisis,” starts Steve Lamar, president and CEO of the AAFA.

“We are playing our part by having closed many of our facilities and, in some cases, converting production in the U.S. and abroad over to the manufacture and distribution of face masks, gowns, and other personal protective equipment. But in the short term, the revenue stream for many of our members and their supply chains has dried up,” he continues.

Lamar has urged the US president to swiftly approve the bill – an action Trump has already affirmed that he will – to alleviate the strains felt on business owners and employees across the country.

“This legislation will inject liquidity into the system allowing companies to sustain operations, and keep employees on the payroll so they start up quickly once health authorities give us the all clear,” the association’s CEO has said.

Broken down, the bill – passed following a brief hiccup as Democratic and Republican Senators squabbled over unemployment benefits – will alleviate some of the financial burden left on the doorsteps of individuals paid under US$75,000, which will now be afforded a monthly pay packet of US$1,200 until they’re able to resume work.

Meanwhile, the US Senate has expanded its unemployment aid including payments, for the first time, to people who are self-employed or work in the gig economy.

An allocated US$500bn will fund companies by providing loans to the hardest hit sectors, such as the airline industry. US$350bn has been set aside in loans for small businesses which will be required to pay back such care packages where business builds once more.

Finally, US$100bn will help hospitals and other healthcare institutes as they lead the fight.

Since the announcement of what is said to be the largest cash stimulus in the country’s history, the AAFA has also called for immediate action on tariff relief.

“Over the past 18 months, the U.S. has collected approximately $50 billion in punitive tariffs on textiles, apparel, footwear, travel goods, and many other inputs and finished items. These funds can quickly be released – using existing mechanisms and without further Congressional authorisation – to companies who need them to survive,” Lamar commented. “Just like we have come together in a bipartisan manner to delay income tax payments, we need to do the same regarding upcoming tariff payments. Temporarily deferring these future payments is critical to help companies preserve cash so they can survive this crisis.”

Source: EcoTextile News

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