Mr. ADERHOLT. Mr. Speaker, it is evident that our country is in desperate need of jobs. And I rise today to bring light on an issue that could cost literally hundreds of jobs in America. Currently, there is a flaw in the GSP, and if it is not addressed, it will cause the loss of 150 jobs in the district that I represent alone, and could cause the loss of many other jobs across the industry.
Implemented back in 1974, GSP was designed to exclude import-sensitive items, and therefore excluded all textiles. However, in the early 1990s, sleeping bags, along with a long list of other items, were added to GSP as eligible for duty-free import, causing sleeping bags to be the only manufactured textile that is allowed to be imported without a 9 percent duty.
The sleeping bags made at Exxel Outdoors in Haleyville, Alabama, are simply fabric, filling and zipper, yet they are not treated as other textiles. Sleeping bags that are manufactured in Bangladesh, where 90 percent of their value comes from materials in China, cut into America's sleeping bag sales by 20 percent a year.
Without this modest import duty, there will be at least another 150 people who will lose their jobs unnecessarily in a region where unemployment is already over 15 percent. While the economy added no new jobs in August and U.S. unemployment numbers remain stagnant, this issue gives us another example of government policy that hinders job growth and retention.
I want to thank the Ways and Means Committee for their time, attention, and concern regarding this matter and for working with us as we move forward on this process to find a resolution. I am looking forward to continuing our work with them in pursuit of a fair, commonsense solution.