AAFA Weekly Brief
September 19, 2017
September 19: President Donald Trump addressed the United Nations General Assembly for the first time on Tuesday. ... "In America, we seek stronger ties of business and trade with all nations of goodwill, but this trade must be fair and it must be reciprocal. For too long the American people were told that mammoth, multinational trade deals, unaccountable international tribunals, and powerful global bureaucracies were the best way to promote their success." (Source: Vox)
September 18: China’s economic model represents an "unprecedented" threat to the world trading system that can’t be addressed under current global rules, President Donald Trump’s top trade negotiator said. ... Lighthizer’s comments on China may damp speculation that the departure of White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, a staunch economic nationalist, would lead to a less hawkish tone on trade from the White House. While Trump has backed down from labeling China a currency manipulator and eased the gas pedal on slapping tariffs on steel imports, Lighthizer said on Monday that changes are coming to a system that leads to trade deficits and fails workers. (Source: Bloomberg)
September 17: A protectionist push by the Trump administration hasn’t diminished support for free trade, a Morning Consult poll for the Bloomberg Global Business Forum shows. Fifty-two percent of the 2,094 adults polled in the United States say they support expansion of free trade across borders. Within that group, 18 percent said they "strongly support" free trade, and 34 percent said they "somewhat support" it. Seventeen percent said they "somewhat oppose" free trade across borders, and 8 percent "strongly oppose" it. (Source: Morning Consult
Supply Chain
September 18: The Senate easily cleared a nearly $700 billion defense policy bill on Monday, despite a fight over amendments that slowed down the legislation. Senators voted 89-8 on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes roughly $640 billion in base defense spending and $60 billion in war funds. (Source: The Hill)
September 18: ... Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez in a recent investments forum in the US met with different associations and business executives to offer opportunities in the Philippine manufacturing sector. Lopez presented the sound macroeconomic fundamentals of the Philippines to American companies and stressed the resurgence of manufacturing in the Philippines. Members of the American Apparel and Footwear Association in the same forum disclosed the potential relocation and expansion of their manufacturing facilities in the Philippines. Lopez encouraged AAFA members, which include Tellas Ltd. (formerly Luenthai USA), Under Armour Inc., Michael Kors (USA) Inc., Ralph Lauren Corporation, Coach Inc., and the Ascena Retail Group Inc., (makers of Ann Taylor, Loft, Lane Bryant, Dressbarn, and Catherines) to take advantage of the extended duty-free treatment to Philippine exports of travel goods under the Generalized System of Preferences program. (Source: Manila Standard – Philippines)
September 15: THE Alliance, a new container grouping which launched this April, has revealed the amount it has set aside in the event one of the five partners follows Hanjin Shipping by going bust. The five lines – Hapag-Lloyd, K Line, NYK, MOL and Yang Ming – have put $50m into an insolvency contingency fund designed to protect customers’ cargo and the ocean transportation chain should one of THE Alliance’s carriers experience financial distress or an insolvency event. (Source: Splash24/7)
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Brand Protection
Sept. 18: ... China’s commerce ministry on Monday unveiled a four-month crackdown, running from September until the end of 2017, to protect the intellectual property rights of companies with foreign investors. (Source: Reuters)
Sept. 15: Trademark counterfeiting? Most think of fake Rolex watches sold on city street corners or faux designer purses sold in suburban kitchens. While knock-off luxury goods may seem harmless, the economic harm inflicted on legitimate businesses — and the workers they employ — is enormous. The Federal Bureau of Investigation estimates that the dollar value of counterfeit goods sold in the U.S. at $200-250 billion annually.  ... Counterfeit goods aren’t subject to the same regulatory standards and safety inspections as items produced by legitimate manufacturers. So, in areas of manufacture where quality control is important, counterfeit products fall short. (Source: National Law Review)
Sept. 13: New York Fashion Week has a controversial new sponsor: Tmall. As confirmed by Alibaba on [September 13], Tmall has become an "official partner" of New York Fashion Week: The Shows, in association with Suntchi, "to help U.S. designers and brands leverage Alibaba’s scale and technology to reach the China market for the first time." While this may be a questionable move, it is not necessarily a surprising one, as the Jack Ma-owned platform – the largest online retail site in China – has been courting an array of fashion companies in recent years, and brands like Burberry, Estee Lauder, Coach, and Benefit Cosmetics, a subsidiary of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, have opened up (and in some cases, subsequently closed) virtual storefronts on the site. (Source: The Fashion Law)
Naylor Association Solutions

In Brief

NAFTA update: Round three of intense negotiations to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will take place in Ottawa beginning September 23. AAFA’s Senior Vice President of Supply Chain, Nate Herman, will attend. Further updates will be shared with appropriate AAFA committees later this week and during the coming weeks. If you are interested in joining a committee, please contact AAFA Membership. Members are encouraged to share any thoughts or concerns regarding the negotiations with Nate Herman.

AAFA concerns over ILO monitoring mission in Uzbekistan: On September 13, AAFA sent a letter to ILO Director-General Ryder to voice concerns regarding the current ILO monitoring mission in Uzbekistan. AAFA believes the ILO plays a key role in the international community’s efforts to stop the use of state‐sponsored and state‐orchestrated forced labor in the Uzbek cotton harvest, and have strongly supported the deployment of ILO monitors to Uzbekistan. However, the ILO’s reporting on behalf of the World Bank raises serious concerns about the mission’s accuracy, methodology, and approach.

AAFA submits comments on government procurement for Buy American Hire American report: AAFA submitted comments to the Department of Commerce on September 18 highlighting its strong support for the Berry Amendment and for government procurement commitments in trade agreements. The comments highlighted the Berry Amendment’s importance for U.S. jobs and threats to the industry, such as unfair competition from federal prisons.

Comments on Caribbean Basin trade program: AAFA submitted comments to the United States Trade Representative on September 15 as part of the Administration's review of the Caribbean Basin trade program.

Spotlight on AAFA’s Footwear Action Committee: This member-led group serves as a dedicated and formalized platform for members to discuss issues unique to the production, sourcing, and selling of shoes. To see who is already taking part, view the committee roster. Contact membership@aafaglobal.org to join this group or any of AAFA’s 11 active committees, subcommittees, councils, and working groups.

Next week at Under Armour: Many thanks in advance to our friends at Under Armour for hosting AAFA’s Fall 2017 Executive Committee and Board of Directors Meetings next week at its headquarters in Baltimore, MD. We look forward to a very productive meeting September 26-27!

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.

Member Welcome: STC

As the first and only non-governmental CCC-approved testing laboratory in Hong Kong and China since 2012, STC (Hong Kong Standards and Testing Centre) is the first non-profit, independent testing, inspection, and certification organization. STC’s scope of service encompasses testing, inspection, and certification of major consumer products including textile and footwear, chemical and environmental, toys and children’s products, food and pharmaceutical, housewares and furniture, electrical and electronics products. With its flagship operation in Dongguan, China, STC also operates in Shenzhen, Shanghai and Changzhou in China, Vietnam, Japan, Germany, Italy, and the United States.
AAFA Events
September & October

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?
October 4 AAFA Footwear Workshop: Trade, Trends, & Compliance
October 5 Webinar: Consumer-Centric Approach to Online Brand Protection
October 11 Webinar: Spotlight on CSR - Moving the Industry Forward
October 19 AAFA Product Safety and Compliance Conference
October 25 Webinar: Sustainability - What Do Consumers Really Think?
October 26 AAFA Executive Think Tank in Hong Kong

Visit our events calendar for all AAFA webinars and industry events.
Register today for the
AAFA Product Safety and Compliance Conference
October 19 | Ho Chi Minh City



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