AAFA Weekly Brief
May 30, 2017
May 26: The American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) backs the GSP Footwear Act of 2017 introduced Thursday to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill, sponsored by Representative Adrian Smith of Neb., allows limited, non-import-sensitive footwear items to petition to be added to the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), a program that gives duty-free access to the U.S. market for more than 100 developing countries, including countries like Indonesia, Cambodia, Bangladesh and more. If this legislation is included in GSP, it will provide an estimated $57 million in duty savings for footwear companies each year. (Source: VAMP)
May 26: ... Chernoff and his 16-year-old luggage firm, called SkyRoll, have weathered two recessions, a retail downturn, occasional problems in his supply chain and an 18 percent import-duty tax (it came to $100,000 last year) that the curmudgeonly businessman really, really dislikes. "It is analogous to having a bloodsucking parasite attached to your body, except it’s the federal government and they attach themselves to my wallet," he said. (Source: Washington Post)
May 25: U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Thursday that a $5.5 million increase requested for the agency's enforcement budget this year will have a "real impact" in cracking down on unfair trade practices and export security violations. Ross told a House Appropriations subcommittee that an additional $4.5 million requested by the Trump Administration for the International Trade Administration's enforcement and compliance section will fund 29 new positions whose primary focus will be the self-initiation of antidumping and antisubsidy investigations. Ross has pledged to have the Commerce Department take the lead in launching trade cases on behalf of industries that lack the resources or the organization to pursue them. (Source: Reuters)
Admiral Consulting Group
Supply Chain
May 29: ... working with suppliers positioned closer to large consumer markets in Europe allows brands to be more responsive to demand, boosting overall productivity. The same dynamic can be seen across the Atlantic. Close to the US — still the world’s largest consumer market — Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala increasingly offer a compelling mix of low wages, technical ability and proximity, allowing them to compete for business with Asian hubs. (Source: Business of Fashion)
May 23: ... Now more than ever, it feels like high-tech fashion is on the verge of being more than just a gimmick. In the not-too-distant future, you could even be 3D printing your own shoes or clothes at home. Instead of going to a store, you'll buy designs straight from the designer. And we're quickly heading toward a world in which "wearable" will be more than a fancy word for a smartphone accessory. (Source: engadget)
May 22: The growing number of apparel brands looking to manufacture domestically face two big hurdles. One, there are simply too few qualified patternmakers and sewers. If there's a poster child for a U.S. industry workforce devastated by the offshoring, it's apparel. Today, about 5 percent of apparel purchased by U.S. consumers is made here. In 1960, that number was closer to 90 percent. As we offshored jobs, we also stopped training the next generation of production specialists. In the process, we've lost much of our institutional memory on how to train new employees. Today there's no blueprint, and no uniformity in methods, equipment, and leadership. We're essentially starting over. (Source: CompanyWeek)
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Brand Protection
May 24: At his confirmation hearing Wednesday, President Donald Trump’s choice for intellectual property czar emphasized the need to confront IP theft from abroad. If confirmed by the Senate as intellectual property enforcement coordinator, Vishal Amin would be the point person for U.S. law enforcement strategy affecting copyright, patents and trademarks. (Source: Morning Consult)
May 23: Tech companies and app developers everywhere are breathing a sigh of relief after Monday's major Supreme Court ruling on a topic that's close to their hearts: patents. More specifically, patent lawsuits — a rising number of which analysts say are bogus and threaten to strangle new start-ups and inventions before they have a chance to succeed. The ruling could wind up having a significant effect on which companies and innovations thrive and which get sued into oblivion. Here's what you need to know. (Source: Washington Post)

In Brief

AAFA on the Border Adjustment Tax: Last Tuesday the House Ways and Means Committee held a public hearing regarding the pros and cons of a Border Adjustment Tax (BAT), and its potential impact on the economy, U.S. companies, and U.S. consumers as part of corporate tax reform. AAFA submitted comments showcasing how the BAT would impact the apparel and footwear industry.
While the committee's Republican leadership still seemed inclined towards including a BAT, interestingly the majority of the Rank and File members (on both sides of the aisle) seemed to have major concerns that were not adequately appeased by the pro-BAT panelists.
This is certainly an important development, however it does not mean that BAT is done. Here are ways you can help end the BAT and stay informed: 
  • Join more than 14,000 colleagues and send a letter to your legislator; 
  • Voice your opinion during meetings with Members of Congress, and share our handout showing the potential impact on our industry;
  • Join us in NYC next week during our annual Sourcing Conference on June 7-8, during which we'll have a town hall-style session discussing the latest happenings in Washington.


AAFA’s brand refresh is live! Did you notice we have a fresh new look? Check out aafaglobal.org for our new web design on your desktop or on the go from your mobile device. The site has been re-invented to better meet the needs of AAFA members and to reflect our strategic initiatives across Brand Protection, Trade, and Supply Chain. 

For AAFA members ready to showcase member status on business materials, websites, and other collateral, download the new logo variations and usage guidelines here (member login required).

A glance back at the #AmericanImageAwards: In case you missed it, here’s a 3-minute look back at the 39th AAFA American Image Awards celebrated on April 24. The event celebrated innovation and leadership throughout the apparel and footwear industry and benefited the Council of Fashion Designers of America Foundation’s Fashion Manufacturing Initiative. Read more here.

Important GSP footwear bill introduced: Last week, Congress introduced the bill H.R.2735 "To make certain footwear eligible for duty-free treatment under the Generalized System of Preferences, and for other purposes." Under the proposal, certain footwear would be added to the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program for the first time since the program was enacted more than 40 years ago. If Congress approves this legislation and the Trump Administration formally adds the subject footwear to GSP, U.S. imports of certain footwear from GSP-eligible developing countries — countries like Indonesia, India, Brazil, and Cambodia (but not China or Vietnam) — would enter the United States duty-free. This change to the program will result in significant duty savings for U.S. footwear companies, estimated at approximately $57 million per year. AAFA has long supported the GSP program and pushed for this development on behalf of AAFA members. For additional details, see our press release here

See all of AAFA’s latest letters, comments, and testimony here.
Congress and government agencies solicit comments on a range of issues that may affect your business – find a list of comment opportunities here.

AAFA Events
June 1 Webinar: Supply Chain Corruption - The Elephant in the Room
June 5 Legwear Committee Meeting
June 6 Product Safety Seminar: The Latest on Compliance and Beyond
June 7-8 Supply Chain Innovation: The Right Course - An AAFA Sourcing Conference
June 15 Webinar: Harnessing the Simplified Duty Drawback Rules for Expanded Savings

Visit our events calendar for all AAFA webinars and industry events.


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