Friday, November 15, 2019

ICE HSI New Orleans seizes $8 million in counterfeit clothing and other goods during pre-holiday IPR surge operation

Beginning the week prior to Halloween, more than two-dozen HSI New Orleans special agents began conducting surveillance of area business locations ultimately identifying numerous vendors engaged in the illegal sale of counterfeit goods, with an emphasis on Halloween-related items such as cosmetic contact lenses and makeup that pose a potential public safety threat due to possible bacterial and heavy metals contamination.

During the second phase of the operation after Halloween, HSI New Orleans shifted focus to the holiday gift-buying season and seized cosmetics, perfumes, pharmaceuticals, cell phones and cell phone accessories, DVDs, music CDs, sports memorabilia, designer clothing, shoes, sunglasses, handbags and wallets. Read more HERE.

Ukraine Government Begins Probe of Faulty Ballistic Vest Purchases

According to the Ukraine State Bureau of Investigations, five defense officials are under investigation involving the purchase of substandard "bulletproof" vests. It is charged that the Ukrainian Defense Directorate of 20,000 knowingly purchased defected "bulletproof" ballistic vests (as well as thousands of poor quality military shelters). Seventy-nine of 100 vests randomly tested failed the requirement specification.

The BeaverLake6 Report appears to be the only technical textile website reporting on the scandal.

U.S. Department of Commerce Finds Dumping and Countervailable Subsidization of Imports of Polyester Textured Yarn from China and India

On November 14, 2019, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced affirmative final determinations in the antidumping duty (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) investigations of imports of polyester textured yarn from China and India, finding exporters from these nations have dumped yarn in the United States at margins ranging from 76.07 to 77.15 percent and 17.62 to 47.51 percent, respectively. Commerce also determined that exporters from China and India received countervailable subsidies at rates ranging from 32.18 to 473.09 percent and 4.29 to 21.83 percent, respectively.

In 2018, imports of polyester textured yarn from China and India were valued at an estimated $45.5 million and $21.6 million, respectively.

The petitioners are Unifi Manufacturing, Inc. (Greensboro, NC) and Nan Ya Plastics Corp. America (Lake City, SC).

The strict enforcement of U.S. trade law is a primary focus of the Trump Administration. Since the beginning of the current Administration, Commerce has initiated 187 new antidumping and countervailing duty investigations – a 240 percent increase from the comparable period in the previous administration.

Antidumping and countervailing duty laws provide American businesses and workers with an internationally accepted mechanism to seek relief from the harmful effects of the unfair pricing of imports into the United States. Commerce currently maintains 498 antidumping and countervailing duty orders which provide relief to American companies and industries impacted by unfair trade.

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) is currently scheduled to make its final injury determinations on or about December 30, 2019. If the ITC makes affirmative final injury determinations, Commerce will issue AD and CVD orders. If the ITC makes negative final determinations of injury, the investigations will be terminated and no orders will be issued.

Click HERE for a fact sheet on the decisions.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Enforcement and Compliance unit within the International Trade Administration is responsible for vigorously enforcing U.S. trade law and does so through an impartial, transparent process that abides by international rules and is based on factual evidence provided on the record.

Foreign companies that price their products in the U.S. market below the cost of production or below prices in their home markets are subject to antidumping duties. Companies that receive unfair subsidies from their governments, such as grants, loans, equity infusions, tax breaks, or production inputs, are subject to countervailing duties aimed at directly countering those subsidies.

Brickle Group Awarded $84 Million in Government Contracts

On November 12, 2019, The Brickle Group announced that more than $84 million in Defense Logistics Agency contracts were awarded to its subsidiary Northwest Woolen Mills over the last eight months. The Brickle Group, a third-generation, leading manufacturer based out of Woonsocket, R.I., has been producing textiles for the last 83 years, including the production of the U.S. Military blanket.

The Brickle Group credits the competitiveness of its proposals to the state’s business-friendly ecosystem and commitment to investing in Rhode Island’s past to drive the future. These awards would not be possible without the tireless leadership and support of Governor Raimondo, Senator Jack Reed, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Congressman David Cicilline and Congressman Jim Langevin, on behalf of Rhode Island’s manufacturing and defense industries.

The company has been a key participant in Real Jobs RI, Governor Raimondo’s cutting-edge workforce development platform, and the RI Innovation Network, sponsored by Senator Whitehouse, which has provided the vehicle for the 70 textiles companies in RI to connect and utilize each other to make the Brickle Group a one-stop shop, supply chain solution.

“Manufacturing is in Rhode Island’s DNA,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “That’s why we’re investing in platforms like Real Jobs Rhode Island that support our workers and homegrown companies like The Brickle Group. I want to congratulate the Brickle Group and their partners on successfully winning these federal contracts. I’m thrilled that they are thriving and growing here in Woonsocket.”

“I am always pleased to help Rhode Island businesses compete for defense contracts and thrilled when they win. These federal contracts mean more jobs here in Woonsocket. The Brickle Group and its employees contribute to a number of quality products for our service members. I salute the Brickle Group for ensuring our service members get the high-quality products they need for operations, and for producing them right here in Rhode Island,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed, the Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee.

“With this significant contract, The Brickle Group continues Rhode Island’s tradition of making world-class products for the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces,” said Senator Whitehouse. “It’s gratifying to see our long efforts to convene the local textile industry and to support local manufacturing jobs bear fruit.”

“Rhode Island is at its strongest when hardworking folks have good-paying manufacturing jobs like those at Northwest Woolen Mills,” said Congressman Cicilline. “I commend the Brickle Group, RITIN, and Polaris MEP for their commitment to strengthening our state’s manufacturing industry and for making this award possible. I look forward to seeing the tremendous return on this important federal investment.”

“Manufacturers across Rhode Island play an important role in supporting our military and bolstering our national defense,” said Congressman Langevin, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee. “I am pleased the Defense Logistics Agency has awarded these contracts, and I will continue to fight for federal funding to support Rhode Island’s robust defense industry.”

“Through the support of our RI congressional delegation, Polaris MEP and Rhode Island Textile Innovation Network, especially surrounding networking and connecting with both our RI and New England Neighbors, the Brickle Group has been able to establish a supply chain that can meet and exceed the textile demands of the U.S. Department of Defense,” said Max Brickle, President of The Brickle Group.

Both the Rhode Island Textile Innovation Network (RITIN) and Real Jobs RI were critical elements of Brickle Group’s success in landing these contracts. The networking opportunities provided by RITIN allowed Rhode Island and regional textile companies to organize in support of Brickle’s need to pull together a local supply chain that increases efficiencies and lowers costs. The Real Jobs RI platform and Polaris MEP provided training that helped Brickle develop its internal talent to meet the demanding standards of the Defense Department, as well as insured future access to flexible, on-demand training.

“One of RITIN’s fundamental goals is to increase networking opportunities among Rhode Island’s textile companies. So, as an organization, we are thrilled that those networking opportunities played a part in the Brickle Corporation’s ability to pull together a consortium of local companies to land this contract. Rhode Island’s textile community is stronger when we work together.”

The clothing and textiles contracts span over 5 years, with production taking place at the Brickle group’s Woonsocket facility as well at its New England textile partners. The Brickle Group has been producing the U.S. Military blanket for over 40 years. The U.S. Navy has added its version to the collection, which the Brickle Group is currently producing in its Woonsocket facility. The U.S. Navy Gray blanket is produced of 100% wool, providing warmth and durability to service the warfighter on U.S. Navy ships.

This marks the first year that the Brickle Group has been awarded this contract for Gen III Layer VII Parka and Trousers as well as the Snow Camo Trouser and Parka. These items make up the outermost layer of protection of the Gen III Extreme Cold Weather System. Adopted by the U.S. Army and U.S. Airforce, they are designed for use during extreme cold and dry conditions.

Supplying the military with millions of uniforms is a daunting task

DLA Troop Support Clothing and Textiles industry event affirms strong partnerships with military customers, vendors

Strong partnerships was the central theme of a Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support Clothing and Textiles military service and industry engagement event Nov. 6-7 in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

More than 800 representatives from DLA, the military services and American clothing and textiles industry attended the fifth annual Joint Advanced Planning Brief for Industry.

“Strong partnerships: that’s exactly what this event is about,” DLA Troop Support Commander Army Brig. Gen. Gavin Lawrence said. “It’s about forging strong partnerships between DLA as integrator of multiple supply chains, the [military] services that place the demands on DLA, and our partners in industry that provide the materiel in an expeditious manner to our warfighters.”

The two-day event provided an opportunity for DLA and the military services to brief industry partners on future requirements and business opportunities for clothing and individual equipment.

“I’m excited at the opportunity this forum presents,” Lawrence said. “We have the ability with our service teammates and partners in industry to achieve a lot in terms of dialogue that can be meaningful to what we focus on at DLA, at that’s support to the warfighter.”

Army Deputy Program Executive Officer for Soldier Ross Guckert, provided the event’s keynote address, and discussed the organization’s mission, vision and priorities, and how industry can help achieve them.

“Our intent here is to make sure you’re aiming at the right target,” Guckert said. “We get you guys aiming in the right direction to help us solve our problems.”

Representatives from other military program offices also presented ways industry can assist with future requirements, including Marine Corps Systems Command, Navy Exchange Service Command and the Air Force Humans Systems Program Office.

For the Marine Corps, item improvements industry can help with include lighter and more flexible body armor and plates, flame resistant fabrics and maternity uniforms, described Marine Corps Lt. Col. Andrew Konicki, the Clothing and Equipment for Infantry Combat Equipment program manager at MARCOSYSCOM.

C&T’s director, Air Force Col. Joseph Elkins, also emphasized the theme of industry assistance towards improvements.

“What I want to remind [our industry partners] is, anything you see that we can do better, faster, harder, stronger in your commercial customer base, let us know,” Elkins said.

Lawrence described how industry has already helped improve the supply chain, by highlighting DLA’s successes from fiscal year 2019, including materiel availability, one of the key metrics DLA measures.

“When a customer places an order, [materiel availability is] having the items on hand to fill that requirement,” Lawrence explained. “We got up to the 90th percentile in fiscal 2019 and our [DLA] director has given us the additional challenge in fiscal 2020 to see if we can get that up to 93rd percent for our materiel availability.”

Lawrence also described C&T successes from fiscal 2019, including helping the Air Force transition to the operational camouflage pattern utility uniform and providing Berry Compliant athletic footwear to Air Force and Navy recruits for the first time, with Army and Marine Corps receiving the footwear in the first quarter of fiscal 2020.

“We absolutely could not have achieved what we did without the relationships and strong partnerships that we have,” Lawrence said.

In addition to briefing about upcoming requirements, the JAPBI also provided vendors who may be new to government contracting, an opportunity to learn how to navigate the solicitation process, said Donna Pointkouski, JAPBI event curator and C&T’s Strategic Material Sourcing Division chief. Pointkouski gave anecdotes of vendors who have been successful in securing contract awards due to their participation at previous JAPBI events.

“If you’re a new vendor, I offer these stories as encouragement that it is possible, and [encourage you] to meet as many people as you can while you’re here,” Pointkouski said.

A new DLA video, ‘Fabric of America,’ also debuted at this year’s JAPBI, highlighting the ‘life’ of an Army combat uniform from cotton to recruit issuance.

“We wanted to create something that highlights the complexity of the supply chain,” Pointkouski said. “This video proves that we, DLA and the services together, can’t support the warfighter without you, and without your employees.”

Thursday, November 14, 2019

School of Fashion Design Annual holiday party & silent auction! 85th anniversary vintage edition!

On Tuesday, December 10, the School of Fashion Design, Boston, will celebrate the season at their annual holiday party and silent auction fundraiser. Over 40 vintage garments from the SFD archives up for auction! Silent auction proceeds benefit SFD student programs and technical resources.

Buy tickets at eventbrite.