• USFIA Joins Global Digital Labeling Letter

    The U.S. Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) joined 129 international trade associations and multi-stakeholder organizations today to urge the “supranational, national, and local authorities around the world to modernize their domestic textile, garment, footwear, and related accessories labeling requirements and legally allow and support the use of more sustainable and economic, digital labels for required labeling information.”

    “During the past 60 years, a confusing array of labeling requirements – relating to care instructions/symbols, fiber content, importer requirements, and origin of textiles, garments, footwear, and related accessories – have proliferated around the world. Created with the best of intentions to enable consumers to make informed buying decisions, these requirements are now hindering the industry’s efforts to be more sustainable and support the circular economy, including the enhancement of traceability. Industry estimates show that, collectively, these requirements now result in the annual production of approximately 5.7 million miles (about 9.2m km) of label tape – enough to stretch from the earth to the moon, and back, twelve times each year.”

    Signatories in this effort represent all aspects of the global fashion and apparel industry, from those working with materials and textiles to industry groups focused on sustainability, including USFIA Partner iHKiB. You can read the letter here.

  • USFIA Testifies at AGOA Eligibility Review Hearing

    On Monday, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative held a virtual public hearing on the annual review of the eligibility of sub-Saharan African countries to receive AGOA benefits. USFIA President Julia Hughes testified at this hearing on the important role that the fashion industry has played in fostering sub-Saharan Africa’s long-term economic potential and the impact of Ethiopia’s loss of benefits to the sourcing in the entire region, not just Ethiopia. USFIA supports early renewal for the AGOA program and swift action by USTR to restore AGOA benefits to Ethiopia once the conditions on the ground meet the AGOA criteria. You can read our testimony filed in advance of the hearing here. Gregory Poole, Special Advisor and Former Chief Supply Chain & Sourcing Officer for The Children’s Place, Inc. also advocated for renewing AGOA, pointing to the economic development and employment benefits to the garment industry, which is largely made up of women.

    There were also representatives from Mauritius and Somalia testifying at this hearing. Somalia and Mogadishu requested consideration for AGOA benefits this year. Mauritius, as a country that could potentially graduate from the AGOA program, has requested a change to U.S. law that would include a process to negotiate a free trade agreement with the U.S. before graduation from the AGOA program.

    “Graduating based on income thresholds may not accurately reflect a country's development, especially for vulnerable small countries that are highly vulnerable to trade shocks due to their limited economic size and exposure to external shocks. This approach could lead to uncertainty and hinder long-term growth,” Mauritian Ambassador Purmanund Jhugroo said. “Alternatively, we propose an approach based on export competitiveness. Instead of graduating a country, we suggest graduating sectors with global competitiveness in the U.S. market relative to U.S. imports. This would encourage countries to build competitive industries and maintain AGOA benefits while developing other sectors.”

    In a Federal Register notice that will be posted tomorrow, USTR requests post-hearing comments. The deadline is August 8, 2023 at 5pm EDT.

  • USFIA Testifies at ITC Hearing on Apparel Export Competitiveness

    USFIA President Julia Hughes and USFIA Washington Counsel David Spooner were among those testifying at the U.S. International Trade Commission hearing on Apparel: Export Competitiveness of Certain Foreign Suppliers to the United States. As a reminder, this investigation covers the competitiveness of the apparel industries in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, and Pakistan. The hearing lasted for more than nine hours and included witnesses from the countries as well as industry groups. USFIA appeared on the second panel along with Kim Glas from NCTO (witness statement), Eric Gottwald from the AFL-CIO (witness statement), Sophal Ear from the ASU Thunderbird School of Global Management (witness statement), Jason Judd with the Global Labor Institute (witness statement), and Beth Hughes from AAFA (witness statement).

    USFIA’s testimony highlighted the key factors that sourcing executives from apparel brands and retailers analyze when choosing suppliers: global risk assessments, sustainability, vertical integration, scale, logistics and the traditional elements of quality, speed and cost.