Fashion Intel & Analysis

On December 15, 2009, the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA) will publish the Federal Register notice announcing the new limit for the Haiti HOPE Value-Added Apparel Tariff Preference Level (TPL).    The 2010 limit is lower than the 2009 limit – reflecting the decrease in overall U.S. apparel imports.   Each year the TPL is calculated to be equal to 1.25 percent of the U.S. apparel imports. 

The new TPL offers duty-free access to apparel make in Haiti using fabric of any origin.  However, effective December 20, 2009, at least fifty-five percent of the value of the final product must be produced in Haiti, the U.S., or a U.S. Free Trade Agreement or preference program partner.  This is an increase in the value-added requirement that is required by the legislation. 

By a voice vote, the House of Representatives passed the one-year extension of the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA) and the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).

Attention now turns to the Senate, which is also expected to approve the extension. Congress must act or the duty-free preferences will expire at the end of the year.
On December 10th, the State Department sent a clear message to Madagascar that they need to show immediate action to return to a constitutional democracy.    The State Department spokesman, Ian Kelly, said that failure to meet specific benchmarks that show progress toward a constitutional democracy by December 15th will threaten Madagascar’s continued eligibility for AGOA.   The Obama Administration must make the decision about which countries will be eligible for AGOA by the end of the year. 

On December 10th, USA-ITA filed comments in response to a Federal Register notice issued by the Labor Department proposing a requirement for special certification by U.S. government procurement officers that a good faith effort has been made to determine that certain products are not made with forced or indentured child labor.  The comments say  that the proposal raises concerns for the industry that there is a government perception that child labor or forced labor actually is used in the manufacture of apparel, carpets and toys.   With the well-enforced Codes of Conduct and special security measures such as C-TPAT that companies use to qualify factories, USA-ITA makes the case that the Labor Department should remove these products from the government procurement certification list.   The products in question are apparel made in Argentina, India and Thailand; carpets made in India, Pakistan and Nepal; and toys made in China.

Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Jayson Ahern used yesterday’s opening of the 10th annual Customs Symposium to announce the creation of an Import Safety Commercial Targeting and Analysis Center (CTAC), a new facility designed to centralize, streamline and enhance federal efforts to address import safety issues. 

Ahern told the Symposium that “This fusion center will unify our targeting efforts and make us more efficient. We will avoid duplicate requests for targeting or holds because we will be working side-by-side to share information, reduce redundancy, and leverage the knowledge and experience of the group.” 

According to a press release issued by the Department of Homeland Security, of which CBP is a part, “the Import Safety CTAC will combine the resources and manpower of CBP and other government agencies—including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Food and Drug Administration and the Food Safety Inspection Service—to protect the American public from harm caused by unsafe imported products by improving communication and information-sharing and reducing redundant inspection activities.” The center will be headed by, and located with, CBP's Office of International Trade, in Washington, D.C.