AAFA Weekly Brief
February 28, 2017
Supply Chain
February 27: ... With more than 50 companies represented at Sourcing at Magic in Las Vegas last week, East African makers made up more than 60 percent of the biggest ever Africa pavilion. ... What’s perhaps of particular note—and something the East Africa Trade Hub took the time to highlight through its selection of exhibitors at the show—are the increasing number of buyers taking interest in products that aren’t mass produced, that come with a story, that support a cause—it’s a response to ever-informed consumers seeking those types of stories out. ... Beyond its support in getting manufacturers to the Sourcing show, the East Africa Trade and Investment Hub recently partnered with the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA), to further facilitate growth for the region. (Source: Sourcing Journal - article unlocked)
February 27: Bangladesh garment workers arrested last year over wage strikes are being released, global union IndustriALL said Saturday, reports The Guardian. A strike by tens of thousands of workers in December demanding higher pay was quashed after around two weeks, with 1,600 employees sacked and 34 workers and union leaders arrested. (Source: Prothom Alo)
February 27: The president of the International Longshoremen’s Association on Monday asked members to hold off on a planned walkout that threatens to disrupt operations at some of the East Coast’s busiest ports. ... The call for a shutdown comes as ILA leaders are in the early stages of contract talks with the United States Maritime Alliance Ltd., which represents the employers of unionized Atlantic and Gulf Coast port workers. The current contract expires in September 2018. (Source: Wall Street Journal)
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February 27: The Senate voted Monday night to confirm billionaire Wilbur Ross as Commerce secretary, putting in place another key member of President Donald Trump’s trade and economic team. The 79-year-old businessman is expected to play a leading role in trade policy as Trump looks to renegotiate NAFTA with Canada and Mexico and reduce the $500 billion trade deficit with China. (Source: Politico)
February 24: For as loudly as Donald Trump complains about foreign trade, it’s hard to pin him to specifics. ... On Thursday, the president made his position a bit more clear. In an interview with Reuters, he praised a proposal by House Speaker Paul Ryan to broadly tax imports but remove taxes on exports, a core component of the Republican "Better Way" blueprint. ... Not everyone is convinced the Ryan proposal will work as planned. ... One man who holds this belief is Rick Helfenbein, the president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association. ... "I think in theory, [the economists] probably get it right. But in practicality, they’re probably getting it wrong. If you phase this in over a 10- or 20-year period, maybe the currencies would have time to adjust. But the way a Trump tweet works," and here he laughs, "they’re going to want to do this tomorrow." (Source: The Atlantic)
February 22: A major milestone for the global trading system was reached on Wednesday when the first multilateral deal concluded in the 21-year history of the World Trade Organization entered into force. In receiving four more ratifications for the Trade Facilitation Agreement, the WTO obtained the two-thirds acceptance of the agreement from its 164 members needed to ratify the TFA. ... The American Apparel & Footwear Association said the TFA will provide many benefits to apparel, footwear and travel goods companies by cutting red tape at the border, increasing supply chain transparency, and decreasing costs — benefits that will pass along value to American consumers, and potentially add to the four million Americans already working in the industry. The agreement is a major breakthrough for the future of international trade, potentially increasing global trade by up to $1 trillion per year. (Source: Women's Wear Daily, login required)
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Brand Protection
February 27: China's Alibaba Group Holding Ltd on Monday blamed ambiguous laws and lax penalties at the root of its difficulties in enforcing laws against counterfeiting, as the firm lobbies to be taken off a U.S. blacklist of marketplaces notorious for fakes. (Source: Reuters)
February 16: Footwear, handbags, accessories, apparel, electronics, home entertainment, you name it – no matter the product, the manufacture and sale of counterfeit goods (i.e., fakes) are global problems that directly impact legitimate producers and retailers in virtually every industry. While fully measuring the size of the counterfeit market due to the wide-ranging effects is difficult, the latest estimate from the International Trademark Association (INTA) notes the global impact of piracy and counterfeiting will hit $4.2 trillion (USD) by 2022. While buying a "knockoff" product may not seem to present harm on the surface, a report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development warns that purchasing counterfeit or pirated goods present "a significant economic threat that undermines innovation and hampers economic growth." (Source: IP Watchdog)
Naylor Association Solutions

In Brief
Border adjustment tax (BAT) update: Today, the Americans for Affordable Products (AAP) coalition sent a letter to the Congressional leadership, expressing opposition to the House Republican plan to border adjust income taxes as part of a larger package of comprehensive tax reform. The coalition has also announced that its membership, including AAFA, has grown to more than 200 and represents the largest employment sector in the nation. AAP members speak for nearly one out of every four U.S. jobs – more than 42 million in total. The coalition’s concern is that those jobs would be severely threatened under the BAT. Learn more here.

Additionally, AAFA held an open-industry session at MAGIC on February 22 to provide updates and educate the industry on the proposal to an overcapacity room. Get involved and join thousands of your colleagues by telling Congress how this provision could impact your business here.  

AAFA supports approval of Ross for CommerceAAFA sent a letter to the Senate on February 27 urging the approval of Wilbur Ross for Secretary of Commerce. Ross was confirmed by the Senate later in the day on a vote of 72-27.

AAFA partners with The Hub: On February 21, AAFA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) East Africa Trade and Investment Hub to support best-in-class manufacturing in East Africa. As part of the agreement, AAFA will represent the industry and advocate before country governments in East Africa and encourage the development of sustainable operations in the region. More information about the agreement is available via just-style, Sourcing Journal, and Women’s Wear Daily.

A big week in Washington: AAFA will host the Executive Committee Meeting today at the AAFA office in Washington, followed by the Spring Board of Directors Meeting tomorrow and our AAFA Executive Summit at The Watergate Hotel on Wednesday and Thursday. Whether you are attending or can’t make it this year, follow along with #AAFASummit17. We are excited to welcome more than 200 attendees and a fantastic slate of speakers. Questions? Contact Susan Lapetina, AAFA's Senior Vice President of Education and Corporate Marketing.  

Farewell to Danielle Iverson: Please join us in saying farewell to Danielle Iverson, AAFA’s Director of Government Relations, who will be joining the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) in March. During her 4+ year tenure with AAFA, Danielle moved from an internship position to anchoring and transforming AAFA’s product safety, RSL, and labeling initiatives — bringing new tools, resources, and thought leadership on these critical issues for AAFA members. Although Danielle’s last day will be March 3, she will not be leaving the greater AAFA family as we do a lot of work with JPMA. The AAFA team wishes Danielle much success in her next endeavor. Going forward, questions regarding product safety matters may be sent to Kristen Kern. Labeling questions may be sent to Nate Herman.

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: Mowry & Grimson

Mowry & Grimson PLLC advises corporations and governments on critical trade matters ranging from unfair trade litigation to U.S. international economic policy and legislation. 

AAFA Events
February & March
Feb. 28 - Mar. 1 Executive Committee & Board of Directors Meeting
Mar. 1-3 AAFA Executive Summit
Mar. 15 Webinar: Energize the World's Oldest Material with a New Marketing Message
Mar. 22-23 Government Relations Committee Meeting and Day on the Hill
Visit our events calendar for all AAFA webinars and industry events.

Join your industry colleagues at
AAFA Supply Chain Week for the best of sourcing and product safety



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