AAFA Weekly Brief
October 17, 2017
October 17: The U.S. has for the first time told Japan it has a "strong interest" in starting talks over a potential free trade agreement between the two countries. A Japanese government official said that the U.S. side had touched upon the issue of an FTA during the second round of economic dialogue between U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Japan's Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso on Monday. (Source: Nikkei Asian Review)
October 14: ... The president continues to float the possibility that the United States may terminate NAFTA if the negotiations don’t go their way. Business groups argue withdrawing would bring steeper tariffs, job losses and higher prices for consumers. Withdrawing would also make it much less likely that any country would want to ink new bilateral trade deals with the Trump White House. (Source: The Hill)
October 12: ... as soon as NAFTA has been repackaged, the spotlight is expected to be pointed at the U.S. trade agreement with Central America. Central America, with its hundreds of clothing factories, is a big player in the apparel industry, exporting most of its production to the United States. ... CAFTA is still a work in progress with NAFTA still first in everyone’s mind. "The focus is really still NAFTA," Lamar of the [American Apparel & Footwear Association] said. "Then we’ll see about CAFTA." (Source: California Apparel News)
Supply Chain
October 17: The Labour Ministry yesterday announced that it will scrap a contentious clause from a proposed minimum wage law that would have prevented any independent research into the annual negotiation process, as well as the draft labour dispute resolution law. The changes should somewhat quell criticism of the draft minimum wage law, which looks to establish a universal base wage across sectors, though contentious articles remain, including two proposals to impose fines for protesting or expressing dissatisfaction with the wage. (Source: The Phnom Penh Post - Cambodia)

*AAFA’s Senior Vice President of Supply Chain, Nate Herman, attended a crucial meeting that was instrumental in this decision. Learn more under In Brief below.
October 12: ... If the federal government didn't farm these orders out to the prisons, these products would be made by U.S. apparel manufacturers (by law they must be constructed in the United States). There is something wrong when a U.S. soldier, security guard, or postal worker wears a garment sewn by a prisoner, simply because the prisoner was coerced by the federal government to sew it. (Source: Government Executive, op-ed from AAFA's Rick Helfenbein)
October issue: When it comes to ethical sourcing in the supply chain, the apparel and footwear industry gets a bad rap. However, advances in traceability, and rapidly developing technologies in the field are helping the industry shift towards transparency in the production process and more responsible sourcing practices. ... At July’s AAFA Traceability Seminar in Chicago, dozens of brand representatives met to discuss cutting edge methods to scrutinize complex supply chains and expose, and address, potential risks. (Source: Fashion Mannuscript, op-ed from AAFA's Nate Herman)
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Brand Protection
October 17: ... In their un-ending fights against the sale of counterfeit and other infringing goods, luxury and high fashion brands have commonly taken to filing lawsuits against a handful of defendants, who are many times identified exclusively by their infringing domain names, as their real identities have been meticulously hidden and thereby, indeterminable to the lawsuit-filing party. ... A different – or better yet, additional – approach has come about in recent years. (Source: The Fashion Law)
October 16: eBay is going after high-end clientele in search of luxury goods with today’s launch of eBay Authenticate, a new program that will allow sellers to opt in to have their goods verified as authentic. Initially, the service will focus on luxury handbags and wallets across 12 high-end brands, including Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Hermes, Gucci, Prada, Burberry, Dior, Fendi, Balenciaga, Goyard, Celine and Valentino. (Source: TechCrunch)
October 16: ... Gone are the days where a brand owner can simply send a strongly worded cease & desist ("C&D") letter to an offending user — nowadays, it is not uncommon for a trademark owner to see its demands disseminated online as part of the rant of the recipient.  In some cases, I have even seen a copy of the brand owner’s C&D letter posted verbatim on social media accounts in an effort to demonstrate how inflexible and "mean" they are for even doing so. (Source: Above the Law)
Naylor Association Solutions

In Brief

AAFA heads to Ho Chi Minh City & Hong Kong! This week, AAFA leadership will head to Ho Chi Minh City to host the international Product Safety and Compliance Conference. Next week, AAFA continues on to Hong Kong to host the Executive Think Tank, which will bring together leaders from JD.com, Li & Fung, PVH, Shoes of Prey, ShopShops, Stitchfix, Target, and more to discuss the most important topics impacting the industry today. AAFA will also formalize relationships with the Federation of Hong Kong Industries and the Confederation of Wearable Exporters of the Philippines (CONWEP, formerly CONGEP).

Changes to Cambodian labor laws: Following a crucial meeting yesterday, which AAFA’s Senior Vice President of Supply Chain Nate Herman took part in, the Cambodian Minister of Labor announced that the Government of Cambodia has agreed to allow study and full discussion with all stakeholders on minimum wage proposals, and work with the International Labour Organization, U.S. Government, and others to improve the union registration process. It also reaffirmed its commitment to the ILO Better Factories program. All of these commitments and more were confirmed in this press release. This decision followed AAFA’s concerns outlined in a June 7 letter to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. For more information, or to join AAFA’s Social Responsibility Committee (SRC), contact Nate Herman.

In case you missed it, new member offer for Pantone LLC products: As part of Pantone LLC’s affiliate membership with AAFA we are happy to announce a special discount. Members will receive 15% off products purchased on www.pantone.com by using the AAFA promo code. Login to learn more! Members may also be interested in our on-demand webinar recording "Color Boot Camp" now available in our Learning Center.

Intern candidates? It’s not too late! AAFA offers rewarding internship opportunities in both our Government Relations and Communications & Marketing departments in Washington, D.C. Fall/winter positions are still available and spring/summer applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.

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
October & November

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
November 9
Webinar: Regulatory Compliance Across the Product Life Cycle
November 14 Government Relations Committee Meeting
November 14 Webinar: Preparing for Higg 3.0-What You Need To Know & Do
November 29 Environmental Committee Meeting
November 30 Social Responsibility Committee Meeting
Reserve your seat for April 16th!

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


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