AAFA Weekly Brief
October 31, 2017
October 31: ... Given China's increasingly powerful role in the global economy and how much effort the government puts into economic planning, the outcome of the congress is now being placed under a microscope by business leaders from around the world. Fashion industry leaders are among those who listened intently to every word uttered by the president for clues as to how this colossal market might evolve. (Source: Business of Fashion)
October 26: ... President Trump’s upcoming Asia trip is of extreme interest to trade and policy wonks. Is he going to build alliances with the countries that hold the bulk of our U.S. trade deficit or is he going to see if America can carve out a better deal? Four of the five countries that the President will visit have newly created trade issues that the Trump administration has brought to the table. Ideally, this trip will help improve, or at least better explain, the articulation of our "America First" policy. Our friendly trade partners are all trying to figure out if we have a defined plan of action that goes beyond the heated rhetoric that the administration has expressed. (Source: Forbes, op-ed by AAFA's Rick Helfenbein)
October 26: The Trump administration is demanding NAFTA concessions from Canada and Mexico but not offering "anything" in exchange, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Wednesday. Ross’s remarkable public statement corroborates the complaints of Canadian and Mexican officials, who have accused the U.S. of taking an unusually and unreasonably hard line in the talks to renegotiate the North American free trade pact. (Source: Toronto Star)
Supply Chain
October 31: ... In late October, the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) and the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (AmCham Vietnam) held a series of activities in Ho Chi Minh City, including an international workshop on product safety and compliance issues. In the first eight months of 2017, Vietnam exported over 30.16 billion USD worth of goods to the US, making up 1.99 percent of the US’s total import turnover. (Source: Vietnam+)
October 26: The Accord on Fire and Electrical Safety in Bangladesh (otherwise called Accord) will continue its operations beyond the May 2018 deadline in Bangladesh until a local regulatory body demonstrates its full capacity to inspect RMG factories and ensure remediation and safety of workers. (Source: Dhaka Tribune)
October 25: ... So far, the government has elevated the authority of locally elected councils, met with human rights observers and, this fall, freed thousands of students from the usual drudgery of picking cotton in state-owned fields for little or no compensation. ... After years of criticism for bringing in the cotton harvest with forced labor, including by children, the government demonstrably called back students from the fields midway through this year’s harvest, though young-looking fieldworkers were still seen in some fields on a recent visit. (Source: New York Times)
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Brand Protection
October 31: ... Well, the first Yeezy store has, in fact, opened its doors, not in California, but in Wenzhou, China. The problem (aside from lack of convenient accessibility for Western-situated fans): Its existence has not been authorized by adidas or West. As the China-centric site, Shaghaiist, recently stated, news of the store’s opening – which took place this past August – went viral online, thanks, in large part, to the fact that all of the products in the store are counterfeit. (Source: The Fashion Law)
October 28: ... we’re talking about a completely different manufacturing ecosystem that operates under a different set of rules than in the West. They exist in a world that is virtually devoid of IP restrictions, where anybody can pretty much take the designs of anybody else and reproduce them without a viable threat of repercussions. We’re talking about shanzhai, the grassroots, quasi-underground ecosystem of hundreds of thousands of manufacturers that extend across China. (Source: Forbes)
October 26: A majority of cross industry sector companies polled in a new survey think that protecting their brands has become more difficult over the last 12 months. ... Overall, the priorities point to an increased focus on online brand protection "signifying a shift from traditional forms of counterfeiting into online counterfeiting as a key issue for many organisations," says IQPC [the survey's organizer]. (Source: Securing Industry)
Naylor Association Solutions

In Brief

Important GSP update! Last night, Congress took the next step on the path to providing duty-free access for certain footwear products (products such as rubber sole shoes with textile uppers, outdoor footwear, and slippers, among others) through the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program. If approved and added to the program, this move is estimated to save the industry $57 million per year in duty-savings! AAFA has been the lead in this push to provide duty-savings for the footwear industry through GSP. More information is available in this press release.

In case you missed it - last week in Hong Kong! On October 26, AAFA hosted our Executive Think Tank, which brought together more than 130 executives. We thank the incredible speakers - change agents who are charting a new path and helping propel our industry forward with vision and leadership. During the week, AAFA also launched new agreements with the Federation of Hong Kong Industries (FHKI) and Confederation of Wearables Exporters of the Philippines (CONWEP).

AAFA President and CEO Rick Helfenbein made headlines throughout the week in support of AAFA’s trade priorities, with television interviews on CNBC and BBC World News in advance of President Trump’s trip to Asia. 

Full house at AAFA’s Executive Think Tank in Hong Kong on October 26.
AAFA leadership, including President and CEO Rick Helfenbein and Board Chairman Paula Zusi after signing MOU with CONWEP.

AAFA submits comments regarding MTB and trade barriers: On October 25, AAFA submitted comments in support of the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) to the House Ways and Means Committee. Additionally, AAFA submitted comments to the Administration ahead of its report on foreign trade barriers.

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.

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AAFA Events

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

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

Join us for AAFA's Product Safety Seminar on the West Coast on February 8, 2018!




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