Chairman's Message for 2017

Dear USFIA Members, Affiliates, and Friends,

Happy New Year—now, get back to work!

We’d like to take some time to ease back into the work week after the holiday break, but there’s no time to waste. Clearly, 2017 will be one of the busiest years for the global fashion industry. The United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) is off to a running start as we prepare to get to know members of the Trump Administration and the 115th Congress, and tackle the challenges ahead on everything from potential new taxes and tariffs for our industry, to risks to supply chain security, to refining our social compliance and sustainability plans.

As Vice President of Customs & Social Compliance at Macy’s Merchandising Group, I’m particularly concerned about uncertainty related to trade and how that will potentially affect not only our sourcing decisions as individual companies, but also the relative strength of our industry in the U.S. and world economies. The fact is that some trade proposals actively under consideration in Washington today could, in the words of one analyst, have a severely adverse impact on most retailers—and so on the entire industry and economy.  

That’s why this year, perhaps more than in any year in recent memory, it’s more important than ever for companies to get engaged in Washington, D.C. Whatever your politics, you can’t deny that it’s a tough time to be working in an import-driven industry given the anti-trade rhetoric and the proposals currently under consideration. In January, USFIA remains focused on understanding the border tax adjustment and how it will be implemented. But, we’re bracing for new challenges, potential changes to free trade agreements like NAFTA and the U.S.-China relationship, and even the possibility of new tariffs on imports. I can’t stress enough the importance of getting involved in Washington, as a company as well as through the association, and make sure your voice is heard in the Nation’s Capital. It’s critical for policymakers to understand our business, how we create jobs and economic opportunities, and the extent to which our success generates value for the states, cities and communities where we do business and where our employees live and work.  And it’s critical for you and your team to stay on top of the changes. Luckily, I can sleep a little easier knowing USFIA is being proactive on these issues and working on behalf of Macy’s.

But, it’s not all grim. While social compliance and sustainability create challenges, to be sure, this is one area where brands and retailers can lead the charge for positive change by working collaboratively and sharing best practices. I look forward to launching our Social Compliance & Sustainability Committee in a few weeks. Let us know if you’d like to be involved, and stay tuned for the big announcement about our different approach to tackling this issue.

On behalf of the USFIA Board of Directors, I wish all of you a happy, healthy and prosperous new year. I hope to see all of you at one of USFIA’s events or meetings in the next few months—and I hope you take my advice and get involved in D.C.!


Michael Singer, Vice President of Customs & Social Compliance for Macy's Merchandising Group and Chairman of the United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA)