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Friday, November 24, 2000 | return to: business, professional, and real estate


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Pro-Israel lobbyists win pantyhose support in D.C.

by WASHINGTON (JTA) - This is the year pro-Israel groups in Washington will be remembered for successfully stretching their lobbyin, As a result of last-minute lobbying by these groups, a provision designed specifically to protect imports of Israeli-made nylon

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Without the provision, the law, by extending trade benefits to sub-Saharan Africa and the states of the Caribbean Basin, would have superseded parts of the existing free trade agreement between the United States and Israel.

With the protection in place, an important precedent has been set: Future trade agreements between the United States and other countries will not harm Israel's trade relations with Washington.

When the bill was drafted, it stated that if a garment is sewn in the United States with U.S.-made yarn and then sent to the Caribbean to be assembled, the final product would receive duty-free treatment once the product returned to America for distribution.

But written that way, the law protects only yarn made exclusively in America, thereby harming Israeli yarn producers, Jewish groups noticed.

"There doesn't have to be a contradiction in the U.S. opening trade relations with new countries and the existing free trade relationship the U.S. has with Israel," said Jeffrey Colman, deputy legislative director for AIPAC-American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

AIPAC, the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress, the Anti-Defamation League and B'nai B'rith worked to ensure that Israel would not be hurt by the bill.


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