Fashion Intel & Analysis

While it is very early in the 2020 presidential campaign, this week Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) released information about his priorities, including his views on trade. In an interview on CNN, Sanders contrasted his record on trade with the positions taken by his main rival, today at least, for the Democratic nomination,  former Vice President Joe Biden. “I helped lead the fight against NAFTA; he voted for NAFTA,” Sanders began. “I helped lead the fight against permanent normal trade relations with China; he voted for it. I strongly opposed the Trans-pacific Partnership; he supported it,” Sanders continued.

On Monday, Sanders also released a statement calling on President Trump and all presidential candidates to “publicly support a new trade policy agenda that protects domestic jobs and guarantees living wages for American workers.” As part of that Sanders is calling on all 2020 candidates to support “a commitment to renegotiate all of our unfair trade deals to prevent the outsourcing of American jobs and raise wages.” Sanders details more of his trade priorities on his campaign website.

The counterfeit apparel market continues to move quick and create challenges for the fashion industry. Since MLB opening day in late March, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has seized 314 counterfeit Bryce Harper Philadelphia Phillies jerseys at a local port. The shipments arrived from Hong Kong and were addressed to destinations throughout the East Coast. If authentic, the jerseys would be valued at $44,040. Harper’s Phillies jersey has been the highest selling in the league since his signing in late February.  

On another operational update call, Executive Assistant Commissioner Todd Owen at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) says the migrant situation continues to increase at the southern border and the ports of entry continue to face negative impacts.

The two most important updates are about wait times and the Pharr bridge.  CBP says there was a decrease in cargo wait times this week at the ports of entry. Owen credited the improvement partially to the return of officers to the field offices, but more so to less cargo crossing the border because it is Holy Week.

Due to safety concerns, Mexican authorities and bridge operators have made the city of Pharr, Texas commercial trucks-only crossing for the near term. CBP is hoping this decision may relieve congestion by having more capacity at Pharr bridge for commercial cargo.

As a reminder, 545 officers were initially pulled from the southwest border ports of entry to assist border patrol. This past Sunday, April 14th, 100 officers from the northern border, airports, and seaports were deployed to the southwest border allowing 40 officers to return to the El Paso field office and 60 officers to return to the Laredo field office. The next wave will pull approximately 125 officers from northern borders, airports, and seaports on April 28th and the final wave will pull about 75 officers on May 12th. Right now, there is little impact by pulling officers from the northern border, airports, and seaports, but as the numbers increase so could the impacts.  

This week, the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) announced Kristi Ellis as the organization’s new Vice President of Communications and Donald Vavala as the Director of Regulatory and Technical Affairs. Both hires coincide with the appointment of Kim Glas as NCTO’s President and CEO, effective April 29. Many USFIA members may remember Kristi from her role as D.C. branch chief with Women’s Wear Daily.  As NCTO’s Director of Regulatory and Technical Affairs, Donald Vavala joins NCTO with 31 years of experience at W.L. Gore, where he most recently held the position of Director, Military Government Affairs. 

NCTO signed onto a multi-industry letter sent to Congress today opposing any efforts to change or weaken the President’s authority to use Section 232, the national security provision that allows the unilateral imposition of tariffs and/or quotas on imports.  While there has been substantial opposition to the 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum, the letter says changing the process would tie the President’s hands in a real emergency.

The EU has responded to last week's announcement by the Trump Administration asking for comments about what EU products should be targeted in any retaliation based on the World Trade Organization (WTO) decision in the Boeing-Airbus aircraft subsidy case. Yesterday, the EU threatened to impose tariffs on $20 billion worth of U.S. imports. The full list is available here and open for public consultation until May 31.  There are a number of consumer products on the list, including briefcases, handbags, and traveling bags in Chapter 42 and cotton in Chapter 52.