Congress renews program for African apparel sales

Congress has renewed a key provision of a trade program that encourages economic development in sub-Saharan Africa.

The legislation passed by voice vote in both the House and the Senate. It also renews the president's authority to apply import sanctions against Burma.

The measure extends for three years a provision of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act allowing duty-free access for African apparel made from third-country fabric. That provision would have expired at the end of September, causing disruption in orders from African factories.

The bill also adds South Sudan to the list of the some 40 countries eligible under the trade act.