Member News

July 31, 2019 

ICYMI: USFIA’s Sixth-Annual Benchmarking Study 

This month, we released our sixth-annual Fashion Industry Benchmarking Study, conducted in conjunction with Dr. Sheng Lu, Associate Professor in the University of Delaware Department of Fashion & Apparel Studies. The study is full of interesting insights on trade policy and sourcing – including your peers’ top concerns and sourcing plans for the next few years. Click here to download the 2019 Fashion Industry Benchmarking Study.  

Join USFIA and Friends at MAGIC 

In less than two weeks, USFIA and many of our members will be heading to Las Vegas for SOURCING at MAGIC, the largest apparel and sourcing show in the country.  Join us on Monday, August 12th for insights about new sourcing opportunities for footwear, textiles and apparel, and a feature presentation from a senior Trump Administration official overseeing textile policy in the Commerce Department.  If you attended USFIA’s Washington Trade Symposium you met Lloyd Wood, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Textiles, Consumer Goods and Materials.  He wants to hear from fashion brands and retailers so please be sure to come to this session.   

Sourcing in 2019: New Options for Apparel and Footwear 
Monday, August 12, 2019 at 12:45 PM to 1:45 PM 
Las Vegas Convention Center, South Hall, Level 2, Room S224

What you need to know to take advantage of opportunities and avoid risks for sourcing in a constantly changing situation. From new tariffs to innovations in the supply chain and new production guidelines to meet ecommerce and other supply demands.

Moderator: Julia K. Hughes, President, U.S. Fashion Industry Association
Featured Speaker: Lloyd Wood, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Textiles, Consumer Goods and Materials, U.S. DEPARTMENT COMMERCE and industry updates from: Kim Glas, President & CEO, NATIONAL COUNCIL OF TEXTILE ORGANIZATIONS; Matt Priest, President & CEO, FDRA; Aparna Tewari, VP Sourcing/ PD/ Production/ Tech Design, VINEYARD VINES; and Navjot Singh, Founder/President, GLOBAL KREATIVE WORCS.

USFIA Sourcing Supporter ProColombia invites you to see the many sourcing options Colombia has to offer with several exhibit booths at MAGIC. As a Western Hemisphere supplier with a free trade agreement with the U.S., Colombia has many advantages for apparel sourcing. Click here to see the full details of Colombia’s exhibit booths at MAGIC. 

New Report Reveals Consumers Want More Transparency from Brands and Retailers

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) has published a new report on transparency designed to encourage greater collaboration among brands, retailers, and manufacturers to engage consumers globally.

Empowering Consumers Through Transparency highlights the opportunity for brands and retailers to more readily and consistently share information about their social and environmental sustainability efforts and performance. “Consumers are eager to see more information about a brand’s overall sustainability efforts and know they can trust the information shared with them,” said SAC VP Baptiste Carrière-Pradal. “They want to feel that brands truly represent them and their individual values. They also want to know more about manufacturing and how and by whom individual products are created.”

ICYMI:  Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Releases Port Master Plan 2050 

Earlier this month, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey released the Port Master Plan 2050. The Port Master Plan 2050 contains a roadmap for the next thirty years of development at the Port of New York and New Jersey.  Take a look at the Plan and other insights for expansion and development at the Port here.  

The Current Sanctions Landscape 

Thanks to Dan Tannebaum, Principal in PwC’s Financial Crimes Unit, for speaking at USFIA’s Washington Trade Symposium this month on the fast-changing sanctions landscapes and providing strategies on how fashion brands and retailers can mitigate the risk management hurdles of this complex issue. In case you missed it, USFIA Premier Partner PwC has released new intelligence as part of their Global Trade Services covering sanctions compliance and how to meet the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)’s standards. There are new requirements that every company should know about. Click here to read the full article. 

In the News 

Already, this year’s Fashion Industry Benchmarking Study has been cited by multiple international media outlets, including Sourcing JournalJust-StyleSupply Chain Dive, and others. We will continue to use the report’s data in our own advocacy work and communications. For these press hits and more, visit USFIA’s online newsroom

Negotiations between the U.S. and China resume in Shanghai this week and we are eagerly waiting a deal. Our advocacy work continues to get recognition from media outlets, including an article by King & Spalding LLP on JD Supra and Just-Style. We will continue to make sure our message is heard loud and clear -- tariffs hurt American companies and consumers. 

In Case You Missed It…

July 1: USFIA hosted a webinar, Update on the China 301 Tariffs. 

July 16: USFIA hosted our lobby day in Washington, D.C. Several USFIA members went to Capitol Hill to meet with their U.S. Representatives’ office to discuss how trade and their global value chains create jobs in the United States. The day concluded by toasting to America’s iconic fashion brands and retailers at a wonderful reception hosted by Barnes & Thornburg LLP. 

July 17: USFIA hosted our annual Washington Trade Symposium on Capitol Hill. The full-day symposium featured speakers from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and USFIA’s partners PwC, GEODIS, and BSI, among others. Thanks to everybody who attended and made the event a huge success. 

July 18: The USFIA Board of Directors met in Washington, D.C. 

July 19: USFIA President Julia Hughes attended a roundtable meeting with the Indonesian Ambassador and a delegation from the Indonesia textile and apparel industry to discuss how to expand trade in textiles and apparel, especially using U.S. cotton.  If you are interested in the presentation about the sourcing opportunities in Indonesia, click here.  

July 24:  USFIA President Julia Hughes participated at Texworld USA on a panel with Dr. Sheng Lu from the University of Delaware, Mark Engebretson from VINCE, and Robert Antoshak from OLAH in a panel called “U.S. Trade Policy: Sourcing Strategies and Future Outlook for Fashion Brands and Retailers.” 

July 30:  USFIA and Social Compliance and Sustainability Partner BSI hosted a webinar, Innovative Ways to Engage Your Suppliers to Maximize the Impact of Your Supply Chain Sustainability Program.

Calendar of Events 

August 11-14 (Las Vegas): SOURCING at MAGIC will take place at the Las Vegas Convention Center, featuring apparel manufacturing, component, technology and service providers from around the world. 

August 19 (Toronto): USFIA will participate in Apparel Textile Sourcing Canada. USFIA President Julia Hughes will join Canadian Apparel Federation Executive Director Bob Kirke to discuss shifts in North American apparel retail trade. 

August 21 (Online):  USFIA will host a webinar, Sourcing Trends & Challenges in 2019: Highlights from USFIA’s Annual Benchmarking Study.   Hear from Dr. Sheng Lu about the top concerns and sourcing perspectives in this year's Benchmarking Study.  

September 5 (Online): USFIA will host our members-only webinar, USFIA State of the Industry Virtual Townhall. 

September 18 (Online): USFIA and Customs Broker Partner GEODIS USA will host a webinar, Customs Update from ACE to Z. 

November 6 (New York City): Save the date for preconference events.  Come early to NYC for two exciting events – talk about Apparel Classification with the CBP National Import Specialists and then head to a special event and reception hosted by USFIA Premier Partner PwC. 

November 7 (New York City):  USFIA Annual Trade and Transportation Conference at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).  Early bird registration opens tomorrow!

November 8 (New York City): The USFIA Board of Directors will meet.

Now Available: Trade Intelligence from USFIA’s Premier Partner PwC

We have several updates to share from USFIA’s Premier Partner PwC this month.  

PwC published its bimonthly trade intelligence on the Asia Pacific region, Trade Intelligence Asia Pacific for April / May 2019. This issue highlights customs audits in the Philippines, new requirements in China on declaration of royalties, new restrictions on imports of new machinery and equipment in Vietnam, and more. Click here to download the report.

This week PwC also provided updates on recent tax and trade issues and developments that may be of interest to global companies operating in the U.S. The issue of Tax & Investment in the USA covers recent trade developments, the U.S. Opportunity Zone Program, and more. Click here to read more. 

Finally, PwC has shared an update on the timing and ratification process of USMCA. Mexico became the first country to ratify the USMCA, but the timing of the U.S. and Canadian ratification remains unclear. PwC outlines the potential timing for the ratification process and what it means for your business here. 

You can stay up to date on PwC’s latest trade intelligence by subscribing to PwC’s industry insights and perspectives. To register, visit the user registration page, set up your account, then login and set your preferences. To receive customs and international trade content, make sure you select "indirect tax" as one of your preferences. Click here to register.

Better Cotton Initiative Releases 2018 Annual Report 

The Better Cotton Initiative has released their 2018 Annual Report highlighting their progress in the 2017-18 cotton season. The report finds that last year BCI trained over 2 million farmers on more sustainable agriculture practices and Better Cotton, cotton produced in line with the initiative’s Better Cotton Principles and Criteria, now accounts for 19% of global cotton production.  We’re especially excited that BCI mapped the links with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.  The full report is available here. 

What People Are Talking About in Washington

One of the opportunities in Washington, D.C. is that we can meet with and listen to policymakers, industry leaders and officials from foreign governments talk about the issues of the day.  This month in the OTC we would like to share with you two events that were especially interesting.  

Lawmakers Talk About Rebuilding a Bipartisan Consensus on Trade Policy 

Sometimes it seems that bipartisanship is a dirty word these days, but this month USFIA attended an event on Capitol Hill called Rebuilding the Bipartisan Consensus on Trade. Hosted by the Charles Koch Institute, Senator Doug Jones (D-AL), Representative Don Bacon (R-NE), and former Senior Economist for Trade for President Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers Phil Levy shared their thoughts on bipartisan cooperation and the support for free trade. 

Senator Jones kicked off the event saying that Members of Congress need to work together on trade policy, despite partisanship. “Jobs, growth, and prosperity are things that everyone values regardless of political stripes,” Jones said. Commenting on the current political environment, Jones said the passage of any trade bill is an uphill battle and at the end of the day American companies and workers should never be used as bargaining chips for trade negotiations. Instead, the Administration should be talking to our allies on friendlier terms and making smart choices in a global marketplace. 

Rep. Bacon focused on the importance of free trade and the need to expand bipartisan support for trade. “Free trade is what makes us a prosperous country. It gives us growth, opportunity, efficiency, and gives us value and choices as consumers,” Bacon said. 

The event ended with Phil Levy saying that the country needs to restore a bipartisan consensus on trade, and the costs of failing to do so will be severe. The U.S. has built a global trading system that benefits our country and spreads benefits around the world and the current state of our trade system is at risk of crumbling, said Levy. In order to restore a strong trading system there has to be bipartisan consensus. In order to create that consensus the U.S. needs to avoid protectionism, be smart about trade negotiations and not use tariffs as a tactic to address another country’s shortcomings in an unrelated area, and overall create more transparency in trade negotiations.   

Axios Sponsors A Conversation on Trade and Tariffs 

This month, Axios held a 4-part conversation on trade and tariffs in the U.S. featuring the President of the U.S.-China Business Council Craig Allen, Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD), Former Mexico Ambassador to the U.S. Arturo Sarukhan, and Representative Veronica Escobar (D-TX). The conversation explored the ongoing U.S.-China trade war, the U.S.-Mexico trade relationship, and the impact these negotiations have on Americans. 

On U.S.-China trade, Craig Allen said “it’s a difficult time to be an optimist with the cycle of tariffs, counter tariffs, and high level of uncertainty.” Allen said tariffs won’t help get to the end-line of a deal and will only hurt American companies and consumers. Focusing on the agriculture sector, Senator Rounds (R-SD) emphasized the negative impact the ongoing trade war is having on his home state and emphasized the desire to succeed, be a part of the solution, and produce a deal. 

Rep. Escobar (D-TX) and Former Ambassador Sarukhan discussed the U.S.-Mexico trade relationship.   Escobar said cross-border trade plays a crucial role in El Paso’s economy.  She credits NAFTA in helping diversify their economy and embrace trade. Focusing on how collaboration over past security issues has strengthened the U.S. and Mexico’s economic and trade relationship, Sarukhan said it’s vital to sustain the U.S.-Mexico economic and trade relationship especially in the current political climate.   

In the News

This month USFIA continued to speak out against the Section 301 tariffs that will affect fashion and consumer products and have received substantial media coverage for our advocacy work. The industry letter signed by USFIA and many member companies has continued to receive substantial media coverage, including articles by ReutersWashington Examiner, and Bloomberg. In case you missed it, ahead of USFIA President Julia Hughes’ testimony, she spoke with Just-Style about the negative impacts the tariffs have on the industry and consumers and why now is more important than ever to speak out and share your views on trade. 

In Case You Missed It…

June 4: USFIA President Julia Hughes spoke at The COTTON USA Sourcing Fair in Mexico about U.S. Global Trade Policy providing an update on the trade war and how the current trade negotiations impact companies’ sourcing strategies. Her presentation is available here

June 11: USFIA and Associate Member KPMG hosted a webinar, Navigating Section 321 for “E-Commerce” Imports. 

June 14: USFIA filed comments on the proposed tariffs on all Chinese imports. Click here to read our full statement. 

June 24: USFIA President Julia Hughes testified during USTR’s Section 301 hearings. Click here to read our testimony and press release.

June 26: USFIA and Associate Member Akin Gump hosted a webinar, From NAFTA to USMCA: What’s in the Agreement, How Will it Affect Brands & Retailers, and Next Steps. 

Calendar of Events

July 1 (Online): USFIA will host a webinar, Update on the China 301 Tariffs

July 16 (Washington, DC): USFIA will host a Lobby Day on Capitol Hill. Join USFIA leadership and legal counsel for a half-day lobbying event. Meet with your company’s U.S. Representatives and key committee staff during personalized meetings at the U.S. Capitol.  From 5 to 7pm, join USFIA and reception host Barnes and Thornburg LLP for a networking reception on our roof overlooking the White House. 

July 17 (Washington, DC): Join USFIA on Capitol Hill for the Washington Trade Symposium. Don’t miss the opportunity to hear from DC insiders and get the latest information about trade with China, sourcing strategies, and new issues on the horizon.  

July 18 (Washington, DC): The USFIA Board of Directors will meet. 

July 24 (New York City): USFIA will participate in Texworld USA. USFIA President Julia Hughes will join Dr. Sheng Lu, associate professor in the Department of Fashion & Apparel Studies at the University of Delaware, Bob Antoshak, Managing Director at OLAH, Inc., and Mark Engebretson, EVP Global Operations at VINCE, for an exciting seminar on U.S. trade policy and the sourcing strategies and future outlook for fashion brands and retailers.  

August 12 (Las Vegas):  USFIA will moderate a panel at Sourcing at MAGIC that will focus on new sourcing options in the U.S. and around the world. SOURCING IN 2019: NEW OPTIONS FOR APPAREL AND FOOTWEAR will feature Lloyd Wood, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Textiles, Consumer Goods, and Materials of the Department of Commerce, Kim Glas, President and CEO of the National Council of Textile Organizations, Matt Priest, President of the Footwear Distributors and Retailers Association, Aparna Tewari, VP of Sourcing, Production, Product Development of Vineyard Vines, and Navjot Singh, Founder of Global Kreative Worcs.   

November 6 (New York City): Save the date for a preconference event hosted by USFIA Premier Partner PwC. 

November 7 (New York City): Save the Date for USFIA Annual Conference at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). 

November 8 (New York City): The USFIA Board of Directors will meet.

USFIA Members in Philadelphia Give FIT Students Tours and Meetings with Industry Experts

Earlier this month, 30 students from the Fashion Institute of Technology’s International Trade and Marketing Program (ITM) traveled to Philadelphia to visit USFIA’s Custom Broker Partner GEODIS USA and USFIA Member URBN Inc. and get a first-hand look at the day in the life of executives in customs, transportation, sourcing, and operations, and learn about the career opportunities that await them after graduation. Special thanks to USFIA Board Member Stefanie Rotta, Senior Director of Global Sourcing & Operations at URBN, Inc., to USFIA Officer, Sonja Chapman, Associate Professor at FIT, and to Erin Williamson, Compliance Manager at USFIA’s Custom Broker Partner GEODIS USA, for helping organize the day.  

The day kicked off at GEODIS USA’s office located in the historic warehousing district of the port of Philadelphia for a discussion on customs and transportation. Erin Williamson, Compliance Manager at GEODIS and FIT graduate, led the panel explaining how working in customs compliance, logistics, and transportation keeps fashion brands and retailers’ supply chains moving. 

In the afternoon, ITM students visited Urban Outfitters to tour the facilities, hear from executives in sourcing and operations, and, of course, pose for a photo in front of the sequin wall. Students explored the knit lab and pattern making facilities and heard from production and tech design managers, as well as directors of sourcing and fabric.

Sounds like a great day for ITM students as they continue to learn and prepare for careers in the fashion industry. Be sure to check out students and organizers’ photos and thoughts below. 

While the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) is known as a premier school for design, FIT’s Jay and Patty Baker School of Business and Technology prepares students for employment in the business sector of the fashion and creative industries. The classes taught at ITM specifically prepare students for management careers in sourcing, compliance, customs, finance, law, corporate social responsibility, trade policy, marketing and other fields. If your company is looking for students for internships, or if you have open positions to hire FIT grads in related positions, you can contact FIT Professor Sonja Chapman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Reminder to Complete USFIA Benchmarking Survey for 2019 

Don’t miss your chance to participate in our sixth annual Fashion Industry Benchmarking Study, which we are conducting again with Dr. Sheng Lu of the University of Delaware. Every USFIA brand, retailer, and importer company has received the benchmarking survey asking about the business outlook and your views on sourcing trends in response to the threats of the trade wars. We appreciate your participation and insights to produce a meaningful study. If you have any questions, or did not receive the survey contact USFIA at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Join the Cotton Board

Are you interested in sourcing or sustainability?  Would you like to know more about cotton availability and pricing?  Have ideas for how to expand cotton in your products?  Join the Cotton Board!  USFIA is looking for interested members to nominate to serve on the Cotton Board.  If you import cotton, then you pay the fee for the research and promotion program.  We encourage USFIA brand, retailer, and importer members to apply for this interesting and important opportunity. Click here to download a flyer with more information, and contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you’d like more information.

Now Available: Trade Intelligence from USFIA’s Premiere Partner PwC

This month we have several updates to share from PwC.

USFIA Premier Partner PwC published its bimonthly trade intelligence on the Asia Pacific region, Trade Intelligence Asia Pacific for February 2019 / March 2019 . This issue covers topics including China’s new policies on Comprehensive Bonded Zones, import requirements for imports into Japan under Japan-EU EPA, and more. Click here to download it. 

If you have an office in Singapore or will be in Singapore yourself, PwC invites you to a one-day customs and trade workshop, 101 Customs & International Trade Compliance in the Asia Pacific.  The workshop is scheduled for May 9, 2019.  Experts from PwC will identify the main business risks in the customs environment within the Asia Pacific, provide strategies for risk mitigation, and share case studies about recent issues.  Click here for details and registration. 

PwC also provides updates and insights on global risks in their latest blog series, Global Perspectives on Top Risks. The series takes a look at potential threats to revenue and profit growth evolving in the geo-political and macro-economic environment. Explore the latest blogs in the series: Cracks in the façade: What diverse global politics means for businessInnovation at a crossroads: Restoring trust in technology, and The uncertainty principle: Current China-U.S. relations test business and government.

Material Management in the New Digital Economy

Material management is one of the key operations of the retail supply chain and it can be difficult to stay on top of the latest trends, technologies, and business models while prioritizing materials-first initiatives and corporate social responsibility efforts. Bamboo Rose’s latest White Paper explains the benefits of adopting a materials-first strategy and how their latest product upgrade with expanded capabilities for materials management can give your brand a competitive edge in the global retail market. Download the White Paper here. 

For more on material management, check out USFIA’s latest webinar with Innovation Partner Bamboo Rose. Nate Fleming, Director of Product Marketing, gives a breakdown of the emerging trends in material and component innovation and how companies can embrace and support material management initiatives. 

New Report Shifts Focus from Fiber Content to Fiber Life Cycle 

Mistra recently published the two-part “Fiber Bible,” a report analyzing all available data on the environmental impact of textile fibers.  Their goal is to provide detailed analysis to policy makers, industry decision-makers, and customers. 

Part 1 of the study focuses on the technical performance of new sustainable textile fibers compared to established fibers, and Part 2 quantifies the environmental impact and potential of textile fibers.  Dr. Sandra Roos, Doctor in Environmental Systems at RISE and one of the authors of the report, says it is important to look at the production cycle when measuring sustainability in fibers. “When calculating the total environmental impact of a garment, one can not only consider the material used in the garment itself, but also what resources have been used to produce the garment. Even though the garment could be made from recycled fibers, the factory may have used fossil fuels for electricity supply, thereby increasing the garment’s total environmental impact.” 

You’re Invited to Centric Software’s Retail Lunch & Learn and Happy Hour with Fast Retailing in NYC

Join USFIA’s Associate Member Centric Software in New York City on May 14th for a retail lunch and learn to discover how Centric helps more than 850 brands drive their digital transformation and develop amazing products across multiple categories, geographies and channels more quickly, to get to market first! Learn more and register here. 

Following, Centric will hold a CentricVIP happy hour with Fast Retailing. Hear from Sasha Porter, System Analyst at Fast Retailing on how their team leverages the power of Centric Visual Innovation Platform (VIP), a game-changing solution of touch screen boards, that truly improves collaboration and revolutionized the way decisions are made. Register here. 

In the News 

As reported this month, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) released a report assessing the likely impact of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) on the overall U.S. economy and on specific industry sectors. Dr. Sheng Lu, Associate Professor in the Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies at the University of Delaware, cites the 2018 US Fashion Industry Benchmarking Study and explains how the new deal would impact the textiles and apparel sector. Read the full Just-Style article here. 

In case you missed it, the United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) signed on to the Americans for Free Trade’s letter to President Trump urging Administration to drop all recently imposed tariffs as part of any negotiated deal with China. The letter has received press hits from the Washington Examiner, Just-StyleFinancial Times, and Politico Pro’s Morning Trade email. For these hits and more, visit the USFIA newsroom

USFIA’s recent webinar with PwC, A Needle in a Haystack: Supply Chain Threat Detection, was covered by Just-Style to advise the international clothing industry to take a holistic and assertive approach to detecting and fighting threats within the supply chain. The article shared webinar presenter, Norm Litterini’s thoughts on detecting supply chain risks, as well as USFIA’s President Julia Hughes’ thoughts on counterfeiting challenges in the industry. Read the full article here. 

In Case You Missed It… 

April 2: The USFIA Board of Directors met in Washington, DC. The Board met with officials from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Department of Commerce, U.S. Customs & Border Protection, and U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement. 

April 10: USFIA and USFIA Premier Partner PwC hosted a webinar, A Needle in a Haystack: Supply Chain Threat Detection

April 16: USFIA President Julia Hughes spoke at SGS and Callet Law’s Product Safety and Regulatory Seminar in New York City giving an update on the Washington political scene. 

April 24: USFIA and USFIA Customs Broker Partner GEODIS USA hosted a webinar, Customs Update: From ACE to Z. 

April 25: USFIA and USFIA Innovation Partner Bamboo Rose hosted a webinar, Material and Component Innovation in the New Retail Economy. 

April 29: USFIA President Julia Hughes and Washington Counsel David Spooner met with representatives from the Embassy of Uzbekistan, including the Ambassador, and the CEO for Global Strategic Planning for the Uzbekistan Textile Industry Association, Muhamedova Dilba, to discuss improvements in cotton production and future business opportunities for U.S. fashion brands and retailers.  .  

Calendar of Events

May 28-30 (Miami, Florida): USFIA will participate and speak at Apparel Textile Sourcing Miami, a trade show that connects the southeastern United States, North America, Latin America, and the Caribbean to the international marketplace for apparel, textiles, and fashion. 

July 16 (Washington, DC): Save the date for USFIA Lobby Day. The week’s events will kick off with personalized meetings on Capitol Hill with your Members of Congress. Following, all symposium attendees are invited to join USFIA and Barnes & Thornburg LLP for a networking reception. 

July 17 (Washington, DC): Save the date for USFIA’s Washington Trade Symposium. The event will be a full-day symposium at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, featuring briefings by policymakers and industry experts. 

July 18 (Washington, DC): The USFIA Board of Directors will meet. 

November 7 (New York City): Save the Date for USFIA Annual Conference.

November 8 (New York City): The USFIA Board of Directors will meet. 

Better Cotton Initiative: Q&A with Levi Strauss & Co. 

The Better Cotton Initiative is an organization that seeks to improve the environmental, social, and economic impact of cotton production. As BCI celebrates its tenth anniversary, they sat down with Michael Kobori, Vice President of Sustainability at Levi Strauss & Co., one of BCI’s founding members, to discuss the shifting attitude towards cotton production and sustainability in the fashion industry. Kobori accredited much of BCI’s success to the commitment of organizations and industries coming together to achieve an end goal of making global cotton more sustainable and thinks BCI will continuing to grow becoming a “commercially viable option for retailers and brands.” When asked how being a member of BCI creates value for retailers and brands, Kobori answered BCI “demonstrates to consumers and shareholders that an organization is committed to sourcing sustainable raw materials and supporting sustainable cotton. BCI has been crucial to both helping us reduce our impact on the environment and bringing that story to our key stakeholders.” You can read the full interview here. 

When is Importing Smuggling? 

USFIA’s Customs Broker Partner GEODIS USA has provided the below updates. Got a question? Contact GEODIS Trade Services at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

It is an occupational hazard—or really habit—of customs brokers and trade compliance professionals to check the country of origin marking when shopping.  I am trying to convince my husband that—for this reason—shopping and purchasing are, well, investments in my career.  I am still working on that. On a recent trip to the American West, I admired the jewelry.  Was it Native American or Native American-style jewelry? Was it smuggled into the U.S. or legally imported, if not domestically made?
The New Mexico U.S. District Court has decided that all willful or knowing violations of customs regulations on importations are criminal smuggling violations punishable by up to 20 years in prison. The recent court case,  U.S. v. Sterling Islands, Inc., involved the intentional mis-marking (non-marking) of the country of origin of imported Native American-style jewelry and similar articles. However, the application of smuggling charges has been determined in this case, and supported by earlier case history, to apply to all CBP regulations governing importations into the U.S.
If you have any doubt as to the proper country of origin marking of your goods, let us know.  The regulations and rulings are well established, but contain numerous product-specific requirements. Also, from time-to-time the acceptable wording to be used for identifying the country of origin changes, and we can help you clarify the current requirement.

New Poll Reveals American Consumers Expect to Bear the Burden of China Tariffs  

Despite what you may see on Twitter, most Americans don’t think China is paying U.S. tariffs. About 62% of Americans surveyed believe U.S. consumers will bear the cost of the new tariffs on Chinese goods, according to a new poll conducted by Monmouth University. The poll also concluded more than 6-in-10 American respondents are either very or somewhat concerned that their local economy will be hurt from a trade war with China and nearly half believe that Trump’s policies of imposing tariffs will hurt the overall U.S. economy. 

“Trump’s tariff policy has not won any converts over the past year. And now, most Americans say that they will ultimately foot the bill from a widening trade war with China,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. On the other side of the spectrum, Trump continues to justify the tariffs and insist they are paid by China. In an interview last week, Trump said, “It all comes from China. We’ll be taking in, over time, hundreds of billions of dollars in tariffs and charges on China.” To echo the poll’s respondents, Americans are paying for the tariffs. These tariffs are a tax that will be paid by American companies and ultimately by American consumers. 

In the News

This month marked a new tipping point in the U.S.-China trade war with the announcement that the Trump Administration is planning to put 25% tariffs on all imports from China. Our advocacy work continues to receive substantial media coverage, including coverage from Luxury Daily, Fibre2Fashion,the Knitting Industry, and Textile World. We will continue the media drumbeat against the Section 301 tariffs that will affect fashion and consumer products and will testify at USTR’s hearing in June. You can find more recommendations on how to fight the China tariffs in our recent member update.  

The 2018 U.S. Fashion Industry Benchmarking Study continues to be used as a resource for sourcing practices in the fashion industry. Fortune and Bloomberg recently cited the study in articles expressing concerns of the China tariff hikes. We are working again with Dr. Sheng Lu of the University of Delaware to conduct the sixth annual Fashion Industry Benchmarking Study. Be sure to register for our Washington Trade Symposium in July to hear the results from the newest study delivered by Dr. Lu. 

In Case You Missed It…

May 3: USFIA filed comments on the classification of 50/50 garments and home textiles

May 13: USFIA hosted a members-only call, Update on the U.S.-China Negotiations

May 16: USFIA President Julia Hughes attended a Capitol Hill event sponsored by the Embassy of Guatemala. Featuring a large delegation from Guatemala business groups, the focus was on Private Sector Engagement as a Tool to Prevent Irregular Migration. Several U.S. Senators and Members of Congress spoke about the importance of the economic and business relationship between the U.S. and Guatemala. 

May 21: USFIA President Julia Hughes participated in Joint U.S. Chamber-USCIB Industry Day on the WCO E-Commerce Framework of Standards. This technical discussion focused on the World Customs Organization consideration of key issues for global e-commerce, including a framework for technical specifications, stakeholder roles and possible approaches for revenue collection.  Please let us know if you are interested in more information on this topic.  

May 22: USFIA attended the ILRF 2019 Labor Rights Defenders Awards ceremony. Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) was recognized with the Visionary Leadership Award. Recognizing the work of the Cotton Campaign, Gaspar Matalaev and Alternative Turkmenistan News were recognized for their work to highlight the ongoing reliance on forced labor in the Turkmenistan cotton sector. Special thanks to Levi Strauss & Co. for the invitation to attend! 

May 28: USFIA President Julia Hughes attended Apparel Textile Sourcing Miami and gave an update on the Washington political scene and the latest impact of tariffs and trade retaliation on fashion brands and retailers. Her presentation is available here

Calendar of Events

June 11 (Online): USFIA and Associate Member KPMG will host a webinar, Navigating Section 321 for “E-commerce” Imports

July 16 (Washington, DC): Make plans to travel to DC early for USFIA Lobby Day. The week’s events will kick off with personalized meetings on Capitol Hill with your Members of Congress. Following, all symposium attendees are invited to join USFIA and Barnes and Thornburg LLP for a networking reception on our roof overlooking the White House. 

July 17 (Washington, DC): USFIA will host the Washington Trade Symposium. Take advantage of the early-bird discount and register now. 

July 18 (Washington, DC): The USFIA Board of Directors will meet. 

July 24 (New York City): USFIA will participate in Texworld USA. USFIA President Julia Hughes will join Dr. Sheng Lu, associate professor in the Department of Fashion & Apparel Studies at the University of Delaware, and Bob Antoshak, Managing Director at OLAH, Inc. for an exciting seminar on U.S. trade policy and the sourcing strategies and future outlook for fashion brands and retailers.  

November 7 (New York City): Save the Date for USFIA Annual Conference at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). 

November 8 (New York City): The USFIA Board of Directors will meet. 

Think About Joining the Social & Labor Convergence Program (SLCP)

Audit fatigue remains a real issue for the industry and it has been difficult for the companies to agree on how to make it better. Now there is a real solution – the Social & Labor Convergence Program (SLCP). Earlier this week USFIA sponsored a webinar that featured SLCP’s Project Director, Janet Mensink, and included a company perspective from Michael Kobori, the Vice President of Sustainability at Levi Strauss & Co. We couldn’t help but sit up and take notice when he called the SLCP the “holy grail” of industry efforts to eliminate multiple audits and redeploy money to improve working conditions in factories. 

So far there are 191 SLCP signatories, and we encourage USFIA members to take a look. The SLCP mission is to improve working conditions by joining forces across the apparel and footwear industry. Over the past 3 years, SLCP developed a Converged Assessment Framework to collect compliance and performance information from production facilities in order to create a system to share verified data in a secure and scalable way. Listen to the full webinar and see the SLCP Signatory Charter here. 

In the News

Each year publishes a series of articles about the Outlook for the year ahead. We are pleased that USFIA again was featured and shared some of the insights that we hear from members. We talked about apparel industry challenges and opportunities as well as apparel sourcing trends and strategiesClick here to see more in USFIA’s newsroom. 

Dr. Sheng Lu, associate professor in the Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies at the University of Delaware and co-author of USFIA’s Benchmarking Study, used insights from the 2018 Benchmarking Study to analyze the ‘Made in the USA’ apparel market. Click here to read his article on Just-Style.  

USFIA joined alongside the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA), the National Retail Federation (NRF), and more to call for an update to 9802, a program that provides duty reductions for goods made with U.S. content. Read the article covered by Just-Style here. 

In Case You Missed It…

January 15: USFIA filed comments on the U.S.-UK negotiating objectives for a trade agreement.

January 31: USFIA hosted our annual West Coast event, Fashion Forward San Francisco, at Levi 
Strauss & Co. Attendees enjoyed a full day event hearing from the industry’s top experts on trade, politics, transportation, sourcing, and sustainability. We concluded the day with a fun networking reception overlooking the waterfront. Thanks to our sponsors and speakers for making the event a huge success, and especially to Levi Strauss & Co. for being a great host! 

February 4: USFIA filed comments on U.S. Customs & Border Protection’s 21st-centry framework. 

February 4 and 5: USFIA attended SOURCING at MAGIC in Las Vegas. It was great to see all of our member booths! 

February 19: USFIA and Social Compliance and Sustainability Partner BSI hosted a webinar, Bribery, Corruption, and Transparency: What Global Brands and Retailers Need to Know.

February 20: USFIA and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) hosted a webinar: Update on Social & Labor Convergence Program  .

Calendar of Events

March 1 (Washington, DC and online): U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) will hold a 21st Century Customs Framework (21 CCF) public meeting at the U.S. Department of Commerce. 

March 5 (Online): USFIA and Associate Member OLAH Inc. will host a webinar, A Changing World for Sourcing Apparel: Comparing Labor, Productivity, Trade, and Prices Across the Top 25 Suppliers.

March 5 (St. Louis): If you’re in St. Louis, come to the meeting of the St. Louis Trade Compliance Practitioners Roundtable. There will be networking and Julie will talk about the work of the U.S. Global Value Chain Coalition in a session called, “Global Trade and U.S. Jobs – The Intersection of International Trade, U.S. Jobs and Trade Compliance”

March 7 (Online): USFIA and Premier Partner PwC will host a webinar, First Sale for Export Program: Post-Implementation Testing and Monitoring Strategy.  

April 2 (Washington, DC): The USFIA Board of Directors will meet. 

April 3-5 (Bogota, Colombia): USFIA Sourcing Supporter PROCOLOMBIA will host the 75th Business Matchmaking Forum, featuring Colombia’s top vendors and buyers from more than 30 countries. 

July 17 (Washington, DC): Save the date for USFIA’s Washington Trade Symposium on Capitol Hill. And plan to join us the day before for Congressional meetings.