AAFA Weekly Brief
April 25, 2017
Supply Chain
April 24: Though workplace safety in garment factories inspected by foreign retailers’ platforms has significantly improved since the tragic Rana Plaza incident, safety concerns in the government-monitored factories have not been addressed as expected. (Source: Dhaka Tribune)
April 22: Two separate groups of North American and European fashion retailers and buyers have so far severed business relations with 217 Bangladeshi readymade garment factories on grounds of unsafe working conditions as the groups conducted safety inspection at more than 2,600 factories in the country following the Rana Plaza building collapse in April 24, 2013. (Source: New Age - Bangladesh)
April 20: Many futurists predict a giant shakeup in the jobs market in the near future as bus drivers, construction workers, paralegals and pharmaceutical workers are forecast to be pushed out of their gigs by job candidates who don’t have a heartbeat. They will be replaced by robots and artificial intelligence. But apparel manufacturing might prove itself to be an exception to this robot future. ... While U.S. manufacturing has declined precipitously in the past four decades, Rick Helfenbein, president and CEO of the Washington, D.C.–based trade group American Apparel & Footwear Association, said there are opportunities to revive the sector. "It is not too late for apparel manufacturing to return to the U.S. as long as we can find a way to do it that makes business sense. Automation may be one of the ways to answer this problem," Helfenbein said. (Source: California Apparel News)
April 18: ... President Trump signed an executive order enforcing his administration’s worthy concept to "Buy American and Hire American." Unfortunately, while the program is well-intended, there exists a hidden flaw within the confines of the announcement. ... When the government buys apparel for the military (or other federal institutions under the guidelines of the Berry Amendment), instead of giving first dibs to private domestic contractors, it allows the federal prison system to grab the business. That’s right, our prisons get priority to bid on uniform manufacturing! (Source: The Hill, op-ed from AAFA's Rick Helfenbein)
Admiral Consulting Group
April 25: A Senate panel has unanimously approved President Donald Trump's pick to represent the U.S. in trade negotiations. The 26-0 vote by the Finance Committee on Tuesday moves the nomination of Robert Lighthizer to the full Senate. Lighthizer served as deputy U.S. trade representative under President Ronald Reagan. He has also worked on trade issues as a lawyer representing various manufacturers and high-tech companies. (Source: New York Times)
April 21: President Donald Trump’s tax plan [this] week likely won’t include a border-adjusted tax that House Speaker Paul Ryan has proposed, a senior administration official said. The White House is still debating the idea, according to the official. Trump will release a tax plan for individuals and businesses [this] week that may not include every component that will go into final legislation, according to a different senior White House official. The plan - which Trump said will be released Wednesday - will contain the administration’s priorities, said one of the officials. Both asked not to be identified because discussions of the plan are private. (Source: Bloomberg)
April 21: In a recent TV interview, President Donald Trump showed financial acumen and gave us hope that the administration’s new proposed tax plan might have a solution that works for everyone. He used the word "reciprocal" in relation to our international trading partners, and that’s a word (if handled properly) we all might like. (Source: Morning Consult, op-ed from AAFA's Rick Helfenbein)
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Brand Protection
April 23: World Intellectual Property Day is on April 26. So, it’s a timely occasion for recognizing the vital role of patents and copyrights in encouraging creativity and innovation in the Digital Age. As World IP Day approaches, American policymakers should keep four basic considerations foremost in mind: First, the obligation to protect Americans’ patent rights and copyrights is explicitly secured by the U.S. Constitution. Second, intellectual property rights are a tremendous source of value in our nation’s economy. And third, new international agreements are needed to strengthen protections for Americans’ IP rights in order to curtail losses from piracy. And Congress needs to reform and modernize the Copyright Office because its proper functioning is so crucial to securing those rights. (Source: The Hill)
April 18: Ivanka Trump brand president Abigail Klem is speaking out against reports suggesting that the company’s move to secure three new trademarks in China is anything other than straight business. In an email statement to Footwear News [on April 18], Klem said that the brand recently saw "a surge in trademark filings by unrelated third parties trying to capitalize on the name." ... China has a well-documented history as a counterfeit haven, and many brands have faced major challenges combatting trademark issues in the region. (Source: Footwear News)
Naylor Association Solutions

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.
Amplify our industry's concerns by sending a letter to your Member of Congress and encouraging your colleagues to send letters too - and/or by joining the Americans for Affordable Products Coalition. To join the coalition, contact AAFA's Steve Lamar.

Tax reform remains a hot topic as legislators look for the best way to reduce tax burdens and simplify the tax code. All eyes are on the White House this week with the expected release of the President's tax plan principles. 


Last night’s star-studded event honoring our industry: In case you missed it - yesterday we hosted the 39th AAFA American Image Awards! Emceed by award winning actor Alan Cumming, the event celebrated innovation and leadership throughout the apparel and footwear industry and benefited the Fashion Manufacturing Initiative, a program within the Council of Fashion Designers of America Foundation that nurtures and supports domestic production, connecting fashion designers to local manufacturing. See the press release here including photo gallery. Look back on the evening and share your favorite moments with the hashtag #AmericanImageAwards. Thank you to everyone who came out last night in NYC to support the honorees and the industry at large!

Lifetime Achievement Honoree Ed Nardoza, formerly of WWD, with AAFA's Rick Helfenbein Paula Zusi and designer Norma Kamali, who introduced Ed Nardoza, at the AAFA American Image Awards 
Remembering Rana Plaza: Yesterday marked four years since the tragedy at Rana Plaza. It was truly a tragic event, but soul searching following the disaster showed the need for serious reform in the Bangladesh garment industry. That resulted in the establishment of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, and other important initiatives. To get involved in AAFA’s efforts to improve worker safety and social responsibility across the industry, contact Nate Herman

Did you know tomorrow is #WorldIPDay? World Intellectual Property (IP) Day - in partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Global Intellectual Property Center - is a day where we go above and beyond to help show our support for innovation, creativity, artistic expression and where we invite Congress to join us in celebrating America’s innovation economy. More than 45 million Americans work in IP fields and deliver the innovations that improve lives every day! Take part in the conversation on social media with the hashtag #WorldIPDay.

Members interested in AAFA’s Brand Protection Council (BPC), charged with helping to protect U.S.-branded products against cheap imitations that are flooding the marketplace, can contact Steve Lamar to learn more. 

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
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.
Registration is open for AAFA's Traceability Seminar taking place July 19 in Chicago!


Other Industry Events 
Ethical Sourcing Forum
May 4-5, 2017 | New York City 

Nate Herman, AAFA’s Senior Vice President, Supply Chain will present an update on the state-of-play in Washington, D.C., and how it could impact your business. Nate will lead a lively debate and provide his insights on the impact to our supply chains and compliance efforts. 



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