Dear USFIA Members, Affiliates, & Friends,
Happy New Year!
We’re two weeks into 2018, and already, trade policy—and understanding what’s on the horizon for trade policy in the United States—is my top concern for the year. Clearly, policymakers are rethinking trade, and the Trump Administration is on the brink of some major trade policy decisions. While steel, solar, and aluminum are expected to be the focus, at least in the immediate term, we must be prepared for the unintended consequences for the fashion industry.
And whether you’re working in sourcing or customs compliance or sustainability, trade policy will impact your job, and your company as a whole. Will the Trump Administration take away key provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)—or will they knock down the agreement entirely? What about other trade agreements, like CAFTA-DR or the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement? In the meantime, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) goes on—without the United States, as the TPP-11.
And of course, we can’t forget that the Administration is taking a close look at North Korean forced labor in supply chains, too. We know USFIA members have worked hard to eliminate forced labor from our supply chains, and our industry has a good story to tell about the work we’ve done on social compliance. In recent weeks, the USFIA Social Compliance & Sustainability Committee and Sustainability Partner BSI have provided some must-read resources about this issue and what we need to do to stay ahead of government action and ensure we’re making ethical sourcing decisions. I encourage every member company to get involved in this committee and put these resources in a prominent place on your desktop—and make sure your entire trade and compliance teams are aware of the available resources and policy decisions. If you have questions about the committee or want to get involved, contact me or the USFIA staff for more details, and stay tuned for additional resources coming soon.
While it sounds like doom and gloom, we’re frankly lucky to have USFIA, and USFIA’s excellent partners PwC, BSI, and GEODIS, on our side, getting our message out there on these issues and making sure we have the latest news and very best global resources available quickly. We can’t fight these battles alone, and even if you have a presence in Washington, D.C., it’s important to have this network of support. If you have questions about these issues, or how to tackle them, I encourage you to contact the USFIA leadership or partners—because chances are, if you have a question, other members do, too, and we can all learn from the supportive, collaborative network the association fosters.
I look forward to connecting with all of you throughout the year, and hope to see many of you on February 1st at Levi Strauss & Co in San Francisco.
Chairman of the United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA)
Vice President of Customs & Social Compliance for Macy's Merchandising Group