Member News

While we are eagerly awaiting the outcome from the G20 meetings between President Trump and other world leaders—particularly President Xi—we want to share some insights about the impact of the tariffs on the U.S. economy. Warning: you may need something a little stronger than eggnog after you read these new studies. 

In a new study commissioned by Koch Industries and conducted by ImpactECON, President Trump’s tariffs could cause the U.S. GDP to fall nearly 2 percent in 2019. The effect on consumers is even harder, especially in the leadup to the holidays, with the average U.S. citizen expected to lose $915 in 2019, or close to $2,400 per household. Meanwhile, “all countries, except the U.S. and China, gain from U.S. trade actions and responses and increase GDP.” It’s worth noting that despite Koch’s conservative viewpoint and long-time support for Republican candidates, Koch Industries and the Koch network has been very critical of President Trump’s trade agenda.

Speaking of the holidays, Tariffs Hurt the Heartland says new tariffs on Christmas lights arrived just in time for the season. The majority of Christmas lights sold in the United States are hit by the Section 301 tariff dispute—and there are no major American Christmas light manufacturers, either. According to the findings,

[O]ver 80% of US imports of Christmas lights from the world in 2017 came between August and October as companies stock up for the holiday season, with China accounting for about 85% of those imports. Already subject to 8% Most Favored Nation (MFN) tariffs, the Section 301 dispute added another 10% tariff, to 18% overall. These took effect on September 24 – right in the middle of peak season for increasing holiday inventory. Lights could become even more expensive next Christmas, as the Section 301 tariff will increase to 25% (or an overall rate of 33%) on January 1, 2019.

Meanwhile, in a White House press conference earlier this week, Larry Kudlow, Director of the National Economic Council, said, “Tariffs represent only a small percentage of the U.S. economy. Our economy's in very good shape right now. And when you multiply through whatever numbers you want to use–$250 billion, or tack on another tranche, which may or may not happen, at a 10 percent tariff rate or more–it's really just a fraction of our economy.”

We’re sure Santa might have a different view!

Mark your calendars! We’re making plans for our major events and encourage you to save the date before the holidays get into full swing.

Are you located on the West Coast—or already sick of the cold East Coast weather? Join the United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) in San Francisco on January 31, 2019, for our first major event of the year. The full-day conference will take place at Levi Strauss & Co., where we’ll discuss the latest updates on the trade war, tariffs, trade negotiations, and what to expect from the new Congress, plus customs, sustainability, sourcing, and much more. Confirmed speakers already include the U.S. Customs & Border Protection Center of Excellence & Expertise for Apparel, Footwear, & Textiles, as well as USFIA Washington and New York legal counsel and partners.

Other key events include:

  • January 9, 2019 – USFIA State of the Industry Webinar – Free for Members!
  • April 2, 2019 – Board of Directors Meeting in Washington DC
  • July 17, 2019 – USFIA Washington Trade Symposium on Capitol Hill
  • July 18, 2019 – Board of Directors Meeting in Washington DC

We look forward to seeing you next year!

USFIA members Abercrombie & Fitch and Levi Strauss & Co. joined nearly 150 other companies in launching the Time to Vote campaign, a non-partisan effort led by CEOs to increase voter participation. The companies have committed to encouraging their employees to vote in the upcoming midterm elections, by offering programs like paid time off, a day without meetings, and resources for mail-in ballots and early voting. For more details on the initiative, visit www.maketimetovote.org.

(And make plans to join us the day after the elections at our annual conference in New York! The registration fees increase at midnight ET tonight!)

USFIA Board Update

The USFIA Board of Directors met in New York City to plan for the year ahead. During the meeting, the Board elected the slate of officers for 2019: Chairman Michael Singer, Vice President of Customs & Social Compliance at Macy’s; Vice Chairman Anna Walker, Senior Director of Global Policy & Advocacy for Levi Strauss & Co.; Treasurer Stefanie Rotta, Senior Director of Global Sourcing for URBN Inc.; and Secretary Sonja Chapman, Director of International Traffic & Customs Compliance for Golden Touch Imports.

The Board elected two new members, as well: Dan Bloch, Vice President of Finance for MGF Sourcing, and Elena Hogan, Vice President of International Trade for Ralph Lauren Corporation.

If you have feedback for the Board on the association’s strategy or activities, or would like to get more involved in the Board or one of our committees, send a note to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

In the News

In November, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement dominated the news cycle, with coverage of our testimony in outlets including CNN, ABC7, Inside U.S. Trade, and more. In addition, our conference we covered by several trade publications including WWD, Just-Style, Luxury Daily, and Sourcing Journal. For these media hits and more, visit the newsroom on our website.

In Case You Missed It…

November 6: USFIA and U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) hosted an apparel classification workshop with the National Import Specialists for apparel, accessories, and other textile products. The view from One World Trade Center was spectacular, but attendees were more interested in talking about classification issues. From t-shirts to travel bags to coated fabrics, there was a lot of excitement while the classification insiders reviewed trends. Some brands and retailers even brought samples and shared new features with the National Import Specialists.

November 7: USFIA hosted the 30th Apparel Importers Trade & Transportation Conference at PwC in New York City. More than 150 attendees from across the industry enjoyed our marquee conference, featuring speakers from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), brands and retailers including Levi’s, Tapestry, and Vineyard Vines, Washington and China experts, and USFIA’s partners PwC, GEODIS, BSI, and Bamboo Rose, among others. We concluded the day with a fun networking reception at Tommy Bahama on Fifth Avenue. Thanks to our sponsors and speakers for making the event a huge success, and especially to our Premier Partner PwC for being such a fabulous host!

November 13: USFIA Vice President Samantha Sault attended an intimate dinner with fashion designer Vicky Tiel, a protegee of Coco Chanel whose Paris atelier produced gowns for starlets and society women in the 60s, 70s, and 80s (including the iconic “Pretty Woman” gown). The dinner for 20 was attended by Assistant Secretary of State for Educational & Cultural Affairs Marie Royce, The Washington Post’s Robin Givhan, and local government and media representatives.

November 16: USFIA President Julia Hughes testified during the two-day U.S. International Trade Commission’s hearing on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Most industry groups were supportive of the new agreement but raised concerns about the impact of other Trump Administration trade actions, such as the 232s, to limit trade opportunities with Mexico and Canada. Click here to read the press release and testimony.

November 16: USFIA Vice President Samantha Sault attended the second edition of DiplomacyXDesign, which took place at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in conjunction with the Meridian International Center. The invite-only event included a cross-section of the Washington DC diplomatic, fashion, and media communities and featured a tour of the museum’s Rodarte exhibit, followed by a panel discussion on fashion and diplomacy featuring Meredith Koop, stylist to Michelle Obama, and Indira Gumarova, wife of the Czech Ambassador to the U.S. who has worked with Manolo Blahnik. You can see photos on our Facebook page!

Calendar of Events

November 30 (Online): USFIA Associate Member KPMG will host a free webinar, TradeWatch: Update on Country of Origin Rules.

December 5 (Online): USFIA and Associate Member Canopy will host a free webinar, Forest Fibre in Fashion – The CanopyStyle Initiative.

December 5 (Online): TextileExchange will host a free webinar, Organic Textile Labeling in the United States.

December 12 (Online): USFIA and Associate Member Vandegrift will host a webinar, Keeping Up with the Compliance Challenges: What Brands & Retailers Need to Know in 2019.

January 9 (Online): USFIA will host our biannual members-only State of the Industry Virtual Townhall, a webinar on policy and association updates featuring USFIA leadership, counsel, and partners.

January 31 (San Francisco, CA): USFIA will host Fashion Forward San Francisco, a full-day trade and customs conference at Levi Strauss & Co. We encourage you to register early because this event typically fills to capacity.

February 4-7 (Las Vegas, NV): Save the Date for SOURCING at MAGIC! We’ll provide details on seminars and other special events soon.

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

If you’re thinking about diversifying your sourcing, either to manage risks, or mitigate the impact of the tariffs, it’s a good time to consider Africa. Join USFIA International Affiliate Ready-Made Garments Export Council of Egypt in November for Destination Africa, the third-annual B2B sourcing exhibition showcasing the wide variety of apparel and textiles available on the continent. 

The event will take place November 17-19, 2018, in Cairo, Egypt.

You’ll meet suppliers eligible for duty-free treatment under the Egypt Qualified Industrial Zone (QIZ) as well as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

Packages including airfare, hotel accommodations, and local transportation may be available for eligible sourcing executives and buyers.

For more information, contact Alan Parter at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 212-867-1717 or visit www.destination-africa.org.