Unless the agreement, called the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act, is renewed by Congress, they worry they will have to turn reluctantly to companies in China.
They say the labor probably will be cheaper, but it could threaten the proprietary nature of their product, result in unreliable deliveries and lose the green energy manufacturing methods used by the company’s Colombia vendors.
“We have people in Asia we can go to, but we don’t want to go there,” said Bernat, Vapor Apparel’s chief revenue officer. “We trust the people in Colombia not to try to duplicate our business model with other parties.”
By contrast, intellectual property rights remain a big concern among many foreign companies dealing with suppliers from China.
“We don’t want to hand over the blueprints for our business model to the Chinese government,” Bernat said. federal government in March over the nation’s spending plan, Bernat and Burnett say the inaction on Capitol Hill could mean Americans will pay more for polyester products that feel like cotton such as sports jerseys, T shirts and other performance apparel.
“In a time when every job counts in our country, Washington party leaders are helping China gain ground against our partners in this hemisphere,” Bernat said. who have come to count on our product.”
The net result of not renewing the trade agreement will be more jobs moving to China, said Burnett, president of Vapor Apparel. Cheap Jerseys free shipping because labor costs are too high. Retailers and other customers aren’t willing to pay a premium for domestic goods, he said.
The lapsed trade agreement was first enacted in 1991 to allow for duty free goods from the Andean nations of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru to help foster economic development and provide jobs to stem the illegal narcotics trade. Congress renewed it in 2002 and granted several extensions since then for a few months at a time, but lawmakers let the accord expire on Feb. 12 over politics.
The Obama administration wants Colombia to clean up mistreatment of union leaders while Republicans say the lack of renewal threatens jobs and good relations established with the South American ally.
Bernat and Burnett said they have contacted members of South Carolina’s Congressional delegation to alert them to take action.
“Sen. Graham remains committed to implementing balanced trade policies that benefit our nation,” Bishop said.
Vapor Apparel started in 2004 with a couple of employees in an office in North Charleston. It rented a warehouse off Clements Ferry Road to distribute its digitally printed products, but consolidated its management, production and distribution on the former base two years ago in the Storehouse Row space formerly occupied by the American College of the Building Arts.
The company now employs 25 people and sells its products to the Boy Scouts of America, Cabela’s, Gander Mountain and New Balance, among many small clients across the nation and overseas.