AAFA Weekly Brief
August 22, 2017
August 21: South Korean and U.S. officials failed to agree on Tuesday on how to move forward on discussions over their five-year-old free trade agreement that Washington is seeking to change to help cut its trade deficit with Asia's fourth-largest economy. (Source: Reuters)
August 20: After the opening round of talks to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement, at least this much is known: The U.S. is pushing for comprehensive changes and racing to meet a tight political calendar. ... The accelerated pace is aimed at wrapping up talks by the end of the year, or early 2018 at the latest, to avoid political complications in Mexico’s presidential vote in the summer and the U.S. midterm elections later in the fall. But it is far from clear how realistic that timetable is, given the ambitious plans outlined by the Trump administration to rewrite major sections of the 23-year-old pact, including the United States’ much-opposed focus on reducing the country’s trade deficit and strengthening its hand in enforcement. (Source: Los Angeles Times)
August 18: Rick Helfenbein, the president and CEO of the American Apparel and Footwear Association, discusses retail earnings, NAFTA negotiations and the impact of White House actions on the corporate community. (Source: Bloomberg – podcast)
Supply Chain
August 17: Local garment makers have proposed the formation of a factory inspection and remediation agency similar to foreign agencies Accord and Alliance to strengthen workplace safety in the apparel sector. Once registered under relevant laws, the platform, to be called 'Shonman' (respect), would be run under the guidance of an ombudsman chosen by the Prime Minister's Office. However, the platform will also have a steering committee comprising representatives from organisations such as the BGMEA, the BKMEA, the ILO, brands, trade unions and the commerce and labour ministries. (Source: The Daily Star – Bangladesh)
August 21: ... It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Americans would favor American-made goods. ... But knowing that Americans want to buy American-made products can serve as a sort of trap for potential American manufacturers. Yes, we want to buy American. Yes, in some cases we’re even willing to pay more for it. But as an American manufacturer, how much more should we expect domestic consumers to pay exclusively for that magical little phrase, "Made in USA"? (Source: Forbes)
August 21: In a move likely to play well with a large swath of voters ahead of next year’s national election, Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday announced a raft of new benefits for garment workers including a big bump to their monthly minimum wage — from $153 to "at least" $168. (Source: Cambodia Daily)
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Brand Protection
August 21: China has attacked the Trump administration's decision to launch an investigation into some of its trade practices. The Chinese Commerce Ministry on Monday issued a statement expressing "strong dissatisfaction with the U.S. approach to unilateralism and protectionism." Following a request from President Trump, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Friday announced he was formally starting an investigation into whether China is unfairly getting hold of American technology and intellectual property. (Source: CNN Money)
August 21: The arrest of Ji Wenhong, the CEO of Xiu.com put an end to a year-long investigation into the company by China Customs officials in Guangdong province over allegations that it had smuggled goods into the country in violation of customs law. But this case also brings into focus the plight of e-commerce sites who are struggling to make a profit and who, unlike the big ones – Tmall and JD.com – don’t benefit from direct relationships with brands. ... Companies like Xiu.com ironically present themselves as more trustworthy than the bigger sites, when it comes to authenticity. Yet, they must stay competitive with regard to pricing. Smuggling is a solution they often resort to. (Source: Jing Daily)
August 18: China’s new cyber-court in the city of Hangzhou will start hearing cases today that exclusively deal with e-commerce and internet-related cases ... . The court will accept filings electronically and try cases via live stream for the following areas of dispute: contract disputes arising from online shopping, product liability disputes arising from online shopping, internet service contract disputes, internet copyright infringement disputes, and disputes arising from financial loans executed online. (Source: The Verge)
Naylor Association Solutions

In Brief

NAFTA Update: The first round of negotiations to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) wrapped up here in Washington this weekend. The U.S. submitted introductory texts on many provisions, including textiles and apparel, that were very similar to comparable chapters in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Many details of specific provisions, including potential Rules of Origin modifications on apparel, footwear, and travel goods, have not yet been disclosed. 

More on these submissions will be shared with appropriate AAFA committees later this week and during the coming weeks as more details are disclosed. If you are interested in joining a committee, please contact AAFA MembershipThe second round of talks will take place September 1-5 in Mexico City. AAFA members are encouraged to share any thoughts or concerns regarding the negotiations with Steve Lamar.


Committee Spotlight – Government Relations Committee: The Government Relations Committee serves as the principal "eyes and ears" for AAFA on trade and other legislative and regulatory matters at national and international levels. It directs lobbying and advocacy responses for matters affecting the U.S. apparel and footwear industry. It advises the Board and Executive Committee on policy positions. A confidentiality agreement is required for participation on the committee.

AAFA members actively serve on 11 committees, subcommittees, councils, and working groups. Members have the opportunity to provide thought leadership, share best practices, and address challenges through active participation. Committees meet by conference call, in person 2-3 times a year, and send out regular updates on issues. To join a committee, please contact membership@aafaglobal.org.

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
August & September
August 23 Webinar: Let's Talk Technology To Reduce Cost & Improve Speed
September 7 Webinar: Color Boot Camp
September 20 Webinar: A Practical Guide to Chemical Management
September 26-27 AAFA Board of Directors Meeting
September 26 Webinar: What's in YOUR Brand?

Visit our events calendar for all AAFA webinars and industry events.
October 19 | Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam


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