Fashion Intel & Analysis

Barnes & Thornburg LLP is offering a series of webinars on COVID-19 issues to address business considerations during the crisis. The following webinar recordings are available for USFIA members:

Wage and Hour and COVID -19 Danger Zones – A Continuing Series

COVID-19 has increased certain wage and hour and employment law risks. Join the Wage and Hour practice group in its continuing review of compliance pitfalls and challenges. This webinar addresses:

  • Further drill-down on wage and hour risks caused by COVID-19 related business changes and how to try to avoid them
  • How to identify potentially problematic pay practices
  • Wage and hour litigation, particularly related to COVID-19, and potential exposure

Reopening and the COVID-19 Exposure Lawsuits That Are Looming

This webinar covers: 

  • Current landscape with respect to the types of cases and causes of action that have already been filed
  • Analysis/predictions with respect to anticipated risks and defenses
  • Tips for limiting potential liability

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently launched the United States - Mexico - Canada Center to help coordinate implementation for the United States - Mexico - Canada Agreement (USMCA). USMCA will enter into force on July 1st and the Center will bring together experts from all three countries.  The "virtual" center will "serve as a central communication hub for CBP and the private sector community, including traders, brokers, freight forwarders and producers, ensuring a smooth and efficient transition from the North American Free Trade Agreement to USMCA."  CBP Executive Assistant Commissioner Brenda Smith said the Center is "integral to successful implementation of USMCA, as it will focus on outreach, training, and developing new regulations and procedures while providing consistency and transparency to the trade community."

Led by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D - MA), 25 House Democrats sent a letter to the Acting Commissioner of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Chad Wolf, and the Acting Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Mark Morgan. The letter urges DHS to establish the forced labor enforcement task force required under the US - Mexico - Canada (USMCA) Implementation Act. Under the USMCA Implementation Act, DHS was required to establish a forced labor enforcement task force by April 28, 2020. Since that deadline has passed the letter urges DHS that  "the Task Force needs to be established immediately and, once established, the interagency work that it is charged to conduct must be prioritized. In renewing the bonds of North America’s economic and trade relationships and boosting North American competitiveness to meet the challenges posed by China’s authoritarian, non-market-based economic practices, a lax approach to enforcement is unacceptable."  

The letter also specifically raises concerns about the use of forced labor in the apparel sector in China and in the agricultural sector in Mexico. Following is that section of the letter: 

House Democrats have been champions for strengthening U.S. enforcement of the forced labor import prohibition, including by leading the efforts to close the consumptive demand loophole through the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015. Since closing the loophole, enforcement actions have increased modestly but the use of forced labor remains rampant across the globe and goods produced by or with forced labor continue to enter the United States in violation of U.S. law and policy. Recent press reporting, investigations completed by civil society organizations, and the U.S. Department of Labor in its regular reports on child and forced labor continue to provide evidence of the severity and pervasiveness of forced labor in the production of goods traded to the United States, including in the technology, apparel, and industrial sectors in China and the agricultural sector in Mexico. 

In a Federal Register notice, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announces they are initiating the annual eligibility reviews of Sub-Saharan African countries who receive benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Due to COVID-19 concerns, USTR will not conduct any in-person hearings related to this matter but will accept written submissions until June 24, 2020.

Earlier today, in a notice, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced new China List 4 product exclusions. USFIA's 2020 Customs Broker Partner GEODIS has provided the following update on the product exclusions. 

In addition to the new exclusions issued by USTR, an important amendment was also made to an existing partial exclusion for textile face masks covered under 6307.90.9889. The notice expands the existing exclusion from “Face masks, single-use, of textile fabrics” to  “Face masks and particulate facepiece respirators.” With the “single-use” provision removed, this exclusion would now cover all textile face masks from China, classified under 6307.90.9889. With importers starting to manufacture and produce reusable textile face masks this is an important expansion to protect importers from having to pay an additional 7.5% on such critical merchandise.