Fashion Intel & Analysis

The Outlook for 2010

A Message from the President

Importers and retailers face many challenges today - the economy, consumers fearful of losing their jobs, and continuing price competition. We want to believe that the Federal Reserve Board is correct when they say that “economic activity has continued to strengthen … and deterioration in the labor market is abating.”  

In his State of the Union address last night, President Obama continued his emphasis on enforcing trade agreements and increasing U.S. exports as a means of creating jobs, and expressly mentioned the Doha round as well as the three pending free trade agreements.  But while hinting that he supported the Korea, Panama and Colombia agreements, the President stopped far short of saying that his Administration would push for their approval anytime soon.  The Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations were not specifically mentioned, but President Obama did cite an intention to strengthen “trade relations in Asia,” a likely reference to those upcoming talks.

After announcing the creation of a “National Export Initiative,” the President stated, “We have to seek new markets aggressively, just as our competitors are.  If America sits on the sidelines while other nations sign trade deals, we will lose the chance to create jobs on our shores.  But realizing those benefits also means enforcing those agreements so our trading partners play by the rules. And that's why we'll continue to shape a Doha trade agreement that opens global markets, and why we will strengthen our trade relations in Asia and with key partners like South Korea and Panama and Colombia.”

 

 

CBP Reports on Factory Visits in FY09

               

U.S. Customs and Border Protection today provided USA-ITA with a report on the “Textile Production Verification Team” visits it conducted during the period October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2009.  All of the visits were to verify claims for preferential treatment, either under the African Growth and Opportunity Act or under one of the free trade agreements.  However, CBP also visited Indonesia, with which the U.S. has no preferential arrangement, and states that it determined that it found evidence of illegal transshipment in half of the Indonesian factories it visited.

 

Please click below to access two announcements from the Customs Bulletin of January 27, 2010.  Customs withdraws the previous proposals related to the treatment of certain pullovers under the U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement and certain hosiery under the U.S.-Central America Free Trade Agreement.


USA-ITA filed comments in opposition to both proposals. We are pleased that Customs decided to withdraw them.

 

 


USA-ITA today filed comments with the Trade Policy Staff Committee urging the Obama Administration to use the negotiation of the planned Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement to establish a free trade agreement which reflects the 21st century realities of trade in textiles and apparel, integrated into normal trading rules and no longer encumbered by separate and restrictive rules.

In the comments, USA-ITA states that the TPP presents a important opportunity for the United States, and each of the participating partners, to harmonize the confusing and business-discouraging array of rules in the many existing free trade agreements among the participants. Specifically, USA-ITA recommended:
1) a single rule of origin that applies to all TPP products, plus complete cumulation among all TPP participants for purposes of determining whether a particular good meets those origin rules;
2) elimination of separate customs processes and verifications and safeguard mechanism for textile and apparel products;
3) reform of the various short supply systems to create a single harmonized process to identify which inputs are not available in commercial quantities in a timely manner, with all governments sharing equally in decision-making; and
4) immediate duty free treatment for the goods meeting the TPP origin rules.

The first round of negotiations toward the TPP is set for Australia in March and will include the U.S., Singapore, Chile, Australia and Peru, Brunei, New Zealand and Vietnam (as an observer, for now).

For a copy of USA-ITA’s comments, follow the link below.