Fashion Intel & Analysis

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.

The Commerce Department yesterday made a preliminary finding that narrow woven ribbons with selvedge (NWR) from China benefit from countervailable subsidies, and assigned steep CVD rates to all but one Chinese producer.

Commerce assigned a 118.68% CVD margin to Changtai Rongshu Textile Co., and said this high margin was due to Changtai’s decision not to participate in the case. Applying “adverse facts available,” Commerce presumed a wide range of subsidies were provided to the company.

Commerce assigned a 0.29% CVD margin to Yama Ribbons and Bows Co.  That is considered “de minimis” and is a very favorable outcome.

For all others, Commerce assigned a countervailing duty rate of 59.49% for other Chinese exporters. (That rate is simple average of the results for Changtai and Yama).

The preliminary finding means Commerce will direct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to suspend liquidation of all entries of woven ribbons from China covered by the order, and require the posting of a bond for the additional duties, effective on the date the notice is published in the Federal Register.  However, NWR from Yama is not subject to the suspension or additional bond because of the de minimis margin found.

NWR from China and Taiwan is also subject to an antidumping investigation.  A preliminary determination in the AD investigations is expected February 4, 2010.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is openly discussing the possibility of further delays in the enforcement of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA), including delaying lead testing requirements for children’s wearing apparel. The Commission is also indicating it can support certain flexibilities on how various components of clothing might be tested for lead content.

 In a public briefing on December 2, CPSC staff proposed a series of options for delaying enforcement of the CPSIA’s lead content testing requirements beyond February 10, 2010. One specific proposal offered by staff was to maintain the stay of enforcement for “wearing apparel,” partly because the Commission has not yet drawn up a definitive list of apparel products intended solely for children that would be subject to a third-party test for lead content. Staff said it would still take “several months” to finalize a list of products intended for children, and indicated that the absence of this list makes wearing apparel and a handful of other items “good candidates” for continuing the stay of enforcement.

 Staff said another reason to keep the stay of enforcement past February 10 is that this would give the Commission time to write a rule explaining how laboratories can qualify as third-party testers for children’s products. The Commission has yet to write rules explaining how third-party labs can be accredited by the CPSC for items such as children’s sleepwear.

 Staff also noted that the CPSC has not issued its rule for lead testing of components, and said maintaining the stay of enforcement would give the Commission more time to write this rule. On components, staff indicated it is considering a proposal that would allow manufacturers to either test components for lead and then use approved components as they wish, or buy pre-certified components. Under either option, components would have to be approved by a third-party tester if they are to be used in a children’s product, although an approved component could be used in a variety of products and styles without having to be retested at the end of the manufacturing process.

 CPSC commissioners at the December 2 meeting offered only cautious responses to these proposals. CPSC Chairwoman Inez Tenenbaum noted that all of these issues would be discussed at the CPSC workshop on December 10 and 11, which will be held at the Commission’s headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland, and can also be viewed online at http://www.cpsc.gov/webcast/index.html.

Commerce has finalized its update of the non-market economy wage rates which it uses to calculate labor costs in trade remedy cases against non-market economy countries.

Commerce arrived at a $1.39 hourly wage for Mainland China, and a rate of 67 cents per hour in Vietnam. In the 10 countries considered, wage rates ranged from as low as 60 cents per hour in the Kyrgyz Republic to $2.19 per hour in Belarus. These rates will be effective as of December 9, 2009, when the decision is published in the Federal Register.

Finally some good news that the leadership in the House may soon schedule a vote to extend the duty-free benefits available through the trade preference programs of the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA) and the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).

The vote could be as early as December 8th, and the House is expected to simply extend both programs for one year.

The situation is much more complicated in the Senate, making it likely that the final vote to extend the duty-free programs will be one of the last Congressional votes this year.