Fashion Intel & Analysis
While we wish we had positive news to share, today’s press reports say there are more difficulties in the U.S. and China trade talks. Today’s Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. and China have hit a snag over farm purchases, creating another difficulty as the U.S. and China try to reach a deal. China is hesitant to put a numerical commitment on agriculture purchases in the agreement, says the article. The article outlines additional obstacles in the negotiations, as well, including China’s requests of a tariff “roll-back” and resistance for a strong enforcement mechanism for the deal. This report comes a day after Trump said he would raise import tariffs “substantially” if the two sides fail to reach an agreement.
Members of Congress showed bipartisan support for the current U.S. de minimis threshold and opposition to lowering the level through USMCA implementing bill in a recent letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Members have “serious bipartisan concern” over the draft Statement of Administrative Action (SAA) language in the Customs Administration and Trade Facilitation Chapter regarding the de minimis level. “The U.S. de minimis threshold is a policy recently set by Congress, which raised the threshold from $200 in 2016. The current de minimis threshold still enjoys wide bipartisan support in Congress and throughout the manufacturing, retail, logistics, and e-commerce landscapes,” says the letter.
A new study conducted by BST Associates for the Port of Los Angeles says that tariffs threaten nearly 1.5 million U.S. jobs and more than $186 billion of economic activity nationwide. By the Numbers: Jeopardizing the National Benefits of Trade through America’s Busiest Port Complex, analyzed trade through the San Pedro Bay ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to show “how many jobs and how much sales, income and taxes are at risk for every state due to tariffs.”
The study finds that tariffs imposed over the last two years could add additional costs between $31 to $35 billion “which are borne by consumers at the retail level and by American manufacturers who rely on imported raw materials and components to produce American-made products.”
There were high hopes for today’s speech at the Economic Club of New York by President Trump. But we continue to get mixed signals about status of the U.S.-China trade talks. The President said the U.S. and China could be close to a phase one trade deal but offered no guarantees. “A significant trade deal with China could happen soon, but only if it’s good for the U.S.,” Trump said. He added that “if we don’t make a deal, we’re going to substantially raise the tariffs.”
The President delivered the same message we’ve been hearing throughout negotiations that China is paying for the tariffs. “We’re taking millions and millions of dollars in tariffs that China is paying for,” he said. He also denied that his trade policy has created uncertainty for the economy and added that the real cost “would be if we did nothing.”
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has announced new product exclusions for List 3 that will be published in tomorrow’s Federal Register. The product exclusions announced will apply retroactively to September 24, 2018, the effective date of the $200 billion action, and will remain in effect until August 7, 2020. Of note to fashion brands and retailers, the exclusions include several fabrics and one yarn:
- 5007.20.0065 Silk fabrics, containing 85 percent or more by weight of silk or of silk waste other than noil silk, the foregoing not printed, not jacquard woven, measuring over 127 cm in width
- 5007.20.0085 Silk fabrics, containing 85 percent or more by weight of silk or of silk waste other than noil silk, the foregoing not printed, not jacquard woven, measuring 107 cm or more but not over 127 cm in width
- 5402.20.3030 High tenacity single yarn of polyester multifilament, of 554 decitex or more but not over 556 decitex, with twist of 5 turns or more per meter
- 6006.34.0080 Circular knitted fabrics of polyester and spandex, printed, other than of double knit or interlock construction, on rolls