AAFA Weekly Brief
May 2, 2017
Supply Chain
April 30: If future anthropologists want to study the rubble of early-21st-century retail, a good place to start will be what Amazon.com did to apparel shopping in the few years before and after 2017. The outlook for physical retailers is grim, the sector roiled by store closings, layoffs and bankruptcies. ... If there are tipping points in retail — moments when shopping behavior swings decisively in one direction — there’s a strong case to be made that apparel is reaching one now, with broad implications for jobs, malls, and shopping districts. (Source: New York Times)
April 28: The Pacific Maritime Association, which represents terminal operators and shipping companies at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, has formally proposed a three-year contract extension to the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. The current contract expires July 1, 2019. (Source: Los Angeles Times)
April 27: The European Commission (EC) has presented a set of focused actions to make garment sector's value chains more sustainable. ... The Staff Working Document presents an overview of the complex garment sector and the challenges it faces, and outlines a strategy for an effective EU development cooperation response. It focuses on three priorities: economic empowerment of women, who are 75 percent of garment work-force; decent work and living wages; and transparency and traceability in the value chain. Transparency is particularly important due to the fragmented production of the sector and the widespread practice of subcontracting. (Source: Fibre2Fashion)
Admiral Consulting Group
April 28: The investment community celebrated Wednesday and retail stocks surged on the surprising omission of the Border Adjustment Tax (BAT) from President Trump’s much-anticipated tax plan. However, with lawmakers offering no indication that the BAT is gone for good, retail investors need to be careful to not take their eye off the BAT. (Source: Forbes)
April 27: President Trump may not be terminating the North American Free Trade Agreement, known as Nafta, but that doesn’t mean the deal is safe. ... For decades, retailers and the brands they sell have relied on an established flow of goods built around the agreement. If tariffs were to suddenly spike on clothing, for example, companies in the United States could not simply switch overnight to T-shirt factories in another part of the world. Changes could also raise prices for consumers, and there are manufacturing jobs to consider — as well as related jobs in retailing, shipping and other industries that would be indirectly affected — according to Stephen E. Lamar, executive vice president at the American Apparel & Footwear Association. (Source: New York Times)
April 25: Most Americans think free trade with foreign countries is good for the U.S. in this modern global economy. In an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, 57% of Americans said they were in favor of free trade, a six-point increase from when the same question was asked in a December 2015 poll. (Source: TIME)
May issue: In meetings on the Hill and in downtown Washington, apparel and footwear executives representing large and small companies all shared the same questions regarding what potential new trade and tax policies may mean for their business. ... Top on everyone’s mind is the proposed Border Adjustment Tax (BAT), a controversial scheme that would impose income tax on the costs of any imports across your supply chains. ... Many are also concerned with the upcoming renegotiation of the 23-year old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). (Source: Fashion Mannuscript, op-ed from AAFA's Steve Lamar)
Brand Protection
May 1: As three entrepreneurs from South Carolina, Connecticut, and Florida working in different lines of business, we have encountered a variety of stumbling blocks in starting our own companies. But one barrier in particular has challenged our abilities to thrive: abusive litigation from patent trolls. (Source: The Hill)
May 1: On the morning of Tuesday, April 25th, the full Senate Judiciary Committee convened a hearing entitled Intellectual Property – Driver of Innovation: Making Our Lives Healthier, Safer, and more Productive. Taking place one day prior to World Intellectual Property Day, the day’s meeting focused on how intellectual property enables innovators to make meaningful impacts in the lives of consumers and the challenges of enforcing intellectual property rights. Echoes of the patent troll debate were also sounded to the likely consternation of U.S. patent owners across the globe. (Source: IP Watchdog)

In Brief

AAFA on Tax & Trade Policy: The direction of U.S. tax and trade policy seems to change by the hour – from the Border Adjustment Tax (BAT) proposal to renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). What will tomorrow bring? Having a hard time keeping track? Stay tuned with us as we continue to keep members updated! Please join us this Thursday for our AAFA member-only webinar where we will explain recent developments and how they may affect your bottom line. Webinar: Going to BAT on Tax Reform & Do We Hafta NAFTA...Again?

Questions? Contact Steve Lamar.


Release of 2017 USTR’s Special 301 Report: On April 28, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) released its 2017 Special 301 Report providing an annual review of the state of intellectual property (IP) protection and enforcement with regards to foreign trading partners where IP protection and enforcement has deteriorated or remained at unacceptable levels. AAFA emphasized the importance of this report in a release on Friday which can be found here

SEC conflict minerals update: On April 28, AAFA urged the State Department to review the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) conflict minerals regulation and explore a new approach to the issue. Learn more.

The fight against patent trolls: On April 25, AAFA signed on to a multi-organization letter advocating for the Administration to ensure strong United States Patent and Trademark Office leadership in the face of continued patent troll concerns.

More American Image Awards buzz: In case you missed the AAFA American Image Awards last week, check out recaps and pictures in the following: Footwear News, Harper's BazaarIn Style, New York Style Guide, and Sourcing Journal.

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: IDFL

IDFL is the global leader in filled textile testing. Founded in 1978 in Salt Lake City, IDFL is the largest down and feather laboratory in the world. IDFL has since expanded to include textile testing, synthetic fill testing, natural fill testing, and inspection and audit services. IDFL has laboratories in USA, Europe, and China.
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.
Mark Your Calendars for October 19 & October 26 to join AAFA in Vietnam and Hong Kong!  


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

Later this week, AAFA’s Nate Herman 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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