AAFA Weekly Brief
April 11, 2017
Supply Chain
April 8: Style is supposedly forever. But the garments needed to conjure up eternal chic are spending less time on shop racks and in homes than ever before. Global clothing production doubled between 2000 and 2014, as apparel firms’ operations became more efficient, their production cycles became quicker and fashionistas got more for their money. ... From the pesticides poured on cotton fields to the washes in which denim is dunked, making 1kg of fabric generates 23kg of greenhouse gases on average, according to estimates by McKinsey, a consultancy. Because consumers keep almost every type of apparel only half as long as they did 15 years ago, these inputs quickly go to waste. ... One obvious way in which firms can answer environmental concerns is to use renewable energy to power their facilities. Beyond that, they can cut back sharply on water and chemical use; and they can develop new materials and manufacturing processes that reduce inputs. (Source: The Economist)
April 7: The battered American retail industry took a few more lumps this week, with stores at both ends of the price spectrum preparing to close their doors. ... The rapid descent of so many retailers has left shopping malls with hundreds of slots to fill, and the pain could be just beginning. More than 10 percent of U.S. retail space, or nearly 1 billion square feet, may need to be closed, converted to other uses or renegotiated for lower rent in coming years, according to data provided to Bloomberg by CoStar Group. The blight also is taking a toll on jobs. According to Labor Department figures released on Friday, retailers cut around 30,000 positions in March. That was about the same total as in February and marked the worst two-month showing since 2009. (Source: Bloomberg)
April 5: One of the futuristic promises of 3D printing in fashion was that one day the technology would allow you to walk into a store, give the staff your measurements, and walk out with a garment made on the spot, just for you. We’re not there yet, but the scenario is becoming a reality for 3D knitting, a cousin of 3D printing that uses yarn to produce a complete, three-dimensional item. Rather than the stiff plastic product created by a 3D printer — good for sneakers, less so for clothes — it produces sweaters, jackets, and anything else you could knit. (Source: Quartz)
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April 9: Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the U.S. wants to see "tangible results" — and soon — on its trading relationship with China. In last week’s meeting between top Chinese officials and the new Trump administration, "we made very clear that our primary objectives are twofold," Mr. Ross said Sunday during an interview on Fox News. "One is to reduce the trade deficit quite noticeably between the United States and China, and two, to increase total trade between the two." ... At the close of the summit, Mr. Ross said the nations had agreed to a "100-day plan" on trade including "way-stations of accomplishment." (Source: Wall Street Journal)
April 6: President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from a Pacific Rim trade deal was viewed as a glancing blow by Vietnam’s Phu Tai Corp., which makes furniture for Wal-Mart outlets. The knockout punch may come if he follows through on threats of protectionism. From a possible border tax to higher tariffs, America’s push to reset trade relations is putting Vietnam’s small economy at risk. Phu Tai, based in a central province, relies on the U.S. for 40 percent of sales, and some business may evaporate if its dining-room sets and outdoor chairs become too expensive. (Source: Bloomberg)
April 6: Today’s topic — and title — come from Steve Lamar at the American Apparel and Footwear Association who suggested it after reading something I told Politico referring to the administration’s draft letter to the Congress on its goals for a NAFTA renegotiation: "It is ironic that they want to fix a ‘terrible’ agreement by including provisions from the TPP, one deal that the administration claims is even worse." Steve’s suggestion was brilliant because it summarizes precisely what is happening — after spending the entire campaign trashing NAFTA (wrong #1), the president is now proposing to fix it by borrowing language from TPP, which he trashed as even worse (wrong #2), but if he actually does that, it could well produce a significantly improved agreement (right #1). (Source: The Stimson Center)
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Brand Protection
April 7: Vishal J. Amin, senior counsel on the House Judiciary Committee, has been nominated by President Trump to be the next White House Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator. ... The position, sometimes dubbed the "IP czar," was created by act of Congress in 2008 to better organize the government’s effort to combat piracy. (Source: Variety)
April 4: Last spring, as Tannia Ospina settled into bed after a long day running her children’s clothing business, an Instagram message popped up that made her burst into tears. It was a photo of her 2-year-old daughter modeling a mermaid romper she had sewn in her home, and it was being used to advertise a rip-off of her design, now being sold for a fraction of the price on AliExpress, a site run by one of the world’s biggest technology companies. ... She spent months requesting the site to remove the listings, but was met with silence. She quickly learned that she was not the first business to contend with this: The site’s Chinese owner, Alibaba Group, has drawn scorn from many big Western brands that insist it has turned a blind eye toward widespread counterfeiting during its rise to the top of the Chinese online shopping industry. (Source: Buzzfeed
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In Brief

Take action NOW to stop the BAT: Ask us about the latest ways to help educate, advocate, collaborate, and mitigate as it relates to AAFA’s response to the proposed Border Adjustment Tax (BAT). Here are two ways to engage:
Share your perspectives with AAFA using this survey.
Join our Member-only webinar on May 4: Going to BAT on Tax Reform & Do We Hafta NAFTA...Again?


AAFA in the news on the BAT & more: Over the past two weeks, AAFA President and CEO Rick Helfenbein has appeared on Bloomberg, BBC, CNBC, CNN, and Fox Business discussing a range of topics including trade with China surrounding President Xi’s visit with Trump. The primary focus of the interviews has been the potentially devastating impacts of the BAT tax on the apparel and footwear industry.

AAFA President and CEO Rick Helfenbein
speaking with CNBC Squawk on the Street.
Click image to watch.
AAFA President and CEO Rick Helfenbein
speaking with Bloomberg Markets.
Click image to watch.

Just released! 3rd Annual CSR Benchmarking Survey Report: AAFA has released the results of the third annual corporate social responsibility (CSR) benchmarking survey. Members can now access the full report here. For more on this topic and beyond, join our Supply Chain Week June 5-8 in New York and our Traceability Seminar July 19 in Chicago.

Meet AAFA’s Social Responsibility Committee (SRC): The above-mentioned CSR benchmarking survey was conducted as an effort of AAFA’s SRC. The committee identifies and studies global social responsibility issues and trends that affect the U.S. apparel and footwear industry. Learn more about AAFA’s committees.

AAFA comments on update to Toxic-Free Kids Act: On April 3, 2017, AAFA sent a letter in support of SB836 to the Oregon Senate Committee on Environment & Natural Resources. The bill would add an exemption for "inaccessible parts" from the Toxic-Free Kids Act reporting requirements and would limit fees associated with product review by OHA outside consultants.

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: Creaset

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AAFA Events
April & May
April 12 Webinar: DETOXing Your Supply Chain
April 24 2017 AAFA American Image Awards
May 4 Webinar: Going to BAT on Tax Reform & Do We Hafta NAFTA...Again?
May 9-10 Government Contracts Committee Meeting
May 18 Webinar: Addressing Security and Social Risk Factors in Latin America

Visit our events calendar for all AAFA webinars and industry events.
We invite you to join AAFA for the


Other Industry Events
NYC MarkMonitor Summit 2017
April 25, 2017 | New York City

Brand protection today matters more than ever, and brand owners must develop the right industry relationships and follow the latest innovations to be successful. Hear from AAFA’s own Steve Lamar at MarkMonitor’s NYC Summit. Steve will be joined by key government officials, law enforcement agencies, IP and legal professionals, and MarkMonitor customers who will share best practices that will impact your approach to brand protection.



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