Fashion Intel & Analysis

In a message (CSMS #44437979) U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)provides guidance now that the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA) is renewed. The  procedures are spelled out for requesting refunds for duties paid during the lapse and for filing CBTPA claims for certain textile and apparel goods. 

On October 6th, four House members introduced H.Res. 1178, a resolution opposing any inclusion of apparel, textile, and footwear products in the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). The supporters are Representatives Albio Sires (D-NJ), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere; Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL); Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) and Karen Bass (D-CA), Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa. The Resolution is in response to the proposals to expand the GSP program to include apparel and footwear from least developed countries. The members express concern that expanding GSP would hurt the U.S. textile industry, cut trade with Free Trade Agreement partners in the Western Hemisphere, and hurt trade with AGOA countries.

NCTO released a statement in support of the legislation, stating that Congress "intentionally excluded import-sensitive items to prevent domestic industries from being adversely impacted."

One of the troubling issues for USFIA members is the situation in the XUAR region in China.  We want to share with you information about the discussion of these issues at the United Nations as well as a few recent news stories.  

Last week the U.S. joined 38 countries at the United Nations to condemn China for human rights abuses in the XUAR and to raise concerns about Hong Kong. Axios shows graphically that more countries are joining the campaign asking for China to take action and respect the human rights of Uyghurs   However there is a divide at the UN, with 45 countries (led by Cuba) joining a statement expressing support for China’s “counter-terrorism and deradicalization measures in Xinjiang.” 

Today the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) announced to members that it will cease all field-level activities in the XUAR region effective immediately, including capacity building and data monitoring and reporting. In March 2020, BCI suspended licensing and assurance activities in the XUAR, and as a result, there is no new licensed Better Cotton coming from the region. BCI says that until circumstances change, they will focus activities in China where BCI has existing programs: Hubei, Hebei, Shandong and Gansu.

The business community remains under pressure to take action, and you may recall that the NBA was one of the first business groups to be criticized for doing business in China. In an interview Monday on her podcast, Megyn Kelly questioned Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban about doing business with China. The exchange is below. 

Kelly asked: "Why would the NBA take $500 million-plus from a country that is engaging in ethnic cleansing?"

Cuban's reply: "They are a customer. They are a customer of ours. And guess what, Megyn? I'm OK with doing business with China. You know, I wish I could solve all the world's problems, Megyn. I'm sure you do, too. But we can't."

Earlier this week the White House issued a Memorandum on Stopping Counterfeit Trafficking on E-Commerce Platforms Through Fines and Civil Penalties. The Memorandum asks the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to focus their efforts on e-commerce platforms to stop counterfeits.  The language is very broad and says the Administration will “impose the maximum fines and civil penalties permitted by law on any e-commerce platform that directs, assists with, or is in any way concerned in the importation into the United States of counterfeit goods.”  

The Administration also will develop legislation within the next 120 days to strengthen the legal authority, and increase resources, to deter and address counterfeit trafficking on e-commerce platforms.

Late Friday, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced that USTR is opening a 301 investigation on the impact of Vietnam's currency policy.  U.S. imports from Vietnam have been growing as many industries shift production from China.  

In a statement, Lighthizer says “Unfair currency practices can harm U.S. workers and businesses that compete with Vietnamese products that may be artificially lower-priced because of currency undervaluation. We will carefully review the results of the investigation and determine what, if any, actions it may be appropriate to take.”  In addition to the review of currency issues, the 301 will look at the impact of Vietnam's import and use of illegally harvested timber.