AAFA Weekly Brief
November 7, 2017
November 6: U.S., Mexican and Canadian officials will kick off some of the next round of talks to rework the North American Free Trade Agreement slightly ahead of schedule on Nov. 15, four officials familiar with the process said on Monday. ... "Some topics that will likely be discussed during those days include textiles, services, labor, and intellectual property. It’s very possible other topics will be added," one of the officials said. (Source: Reuters)
November 6: Buried deep in House Republicans’ tax-reform plan are tough new rules aimed at cracking down on international tax avoidance. Their plan would impose a stiff, and complicated, new excise tax on multinational corporations if they don’t agree to submit their foreign subsidiaries to IRS jurisdiction. (Source: Politico)
October 31: A bill that may help U.S. footwear companies and consumers save money on shoes has made its way to the Senate. On [October 30], a bill to designate certain footwear as eligible for the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program — which would make such items exempt from duties — was introduced in the Senate, a critical step following the bill’s introduction in the House in May. ... "This is a really big deal for the footwear industry," said Nate Herman, SVP of supply chain at AAFA. "With 98 percent of all shoes being sold in the U.S. being imported, we have a huge bill every year, and this is a strong first step toward reducing that bill... ." (Source: Footwear News)
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Supply Chain
November 7: ... Trump's tendency to make impromptu announcements and his frequent threats to punish trading partners have brought heightened uncertainty to overseas presidential visits that traditionally are meticulously choreographed ... "We have an unscripted president going into a scripted environment, so you never know what he's going to do," [Rick Helfenbein, president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association] said. ... Export manufacturers already are on "high alert" over possible disruptions to their global supply chains because of stalled talks with Canada and Mexico on revising the North American Free Trade Agreement, Helfenbein said. (Source: ABC News)
November 6: The Rohingya humanitarian crisis in Myanmar is of great concern to international apparel buyers, who believe that the "devastating" situation requires urgent attention from global organizations. ... "Reports of genocide or ethnic cleansing are very serious and will have implications beyond doing business in the country. The situation also threatens stability in another key supplier to the industry, Bangladesh, which is faced with the challenge of housing and feeding more than 500,000 Rohingya refugees that fled over the border from Myanmar," [Nate Herman, senior vice president of supply chain at the American Apparel & Footwear Association] said in an e-mail, adding that the AAFA has been closely monitoring the situation and is in communication with its members and local contacts. ... Also undergoing problems is Myanmar’s regional competitor, Cambodia. ... The implications for the government’s continued moves against the opposition party may be worrying for the AAFA, but they are still monitoring the situation, the AAFA’s Herman said. (Source: Women's Wear Daily - login required)
November 5: Six months after President Trump ordered the Pentagon to prioritize American-made products in its vast supply chain, powerful members of his own party are pushing in the opposite direction. In a move that effectively aligns the White House with Senate Democrats, the Senate Armed Services Committee led by John McCain (R-Ariz.) has proposed language in the 2018 defense spending bill that would end long-held domestic sourcing protections, which require the Defense Department to rely on American-made suppliers for certain products deemed critical to national security. (Source: Washington Post)
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Brand Protection
November edition: There is an epidemic in the world of counterfeiting you may not be familiar with: the parasite brand. Faced by nearly every famous brand that sells product in China, the parasite brand looks and feels like a counterfeit, but does not directly call itself by the brand name. In fact, the average consumer might be hard-pressed to notice a difference outside of this single distinction. (Source: Fashion Mannuscript, column by AAFA’s Christina Mitropoulos)
November 6: China enacted sweeping changes to a business competition law to address fraud in the e-commerce industry, which is plagued by malfeasance ranging from fake positive reviews to merchants goosing sales numbers. The National People’s Congress adopted revisions Saturday to the Anti-Unfair Competition Law intended to address online retailers, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. (Source: Bloomberg)
November 6: The newest parts of copyright law are the most antiquated, and they are choking creativity and innovation. ... The problem lies in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998’s notice and takedown system, which seemed well suited for the dawning internet age, but became outdated practically overnight and has not aged well. (Source: The Hill)

In Brief

Tax policy update: Thank you to AAFA members who have provided feedback on the draft tax bill that House Republicans released last Thursday. We continue to solicit additional views, particularly on whether the mix of all the provisions will result in lower tax burdens than you now face. To share your feedback, contact Steve Lamar. For ongoing updates regarding tax policy proposals and impacts on trade relations, ask about joining AAFA’s Government Relations Committee
In case you missed it – progress on GSP for footwear! Last week, 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. To get involved, contact AAFA’s Nate Herman and ask about the Footwear Action Committee

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.

Don't miss our AAFA Member webinar with Sourcing Journal - Dec. 11 at 2PM ET




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