Tuesday, October 20, 2020

No matter who wins the election, US fashion manufacturing won’t be returning to China

“Democrats are still going to be looking at tariffs as a policy,” said Stephen Lamar, CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association.

Read more HERE

Mohair South Africa partner with Oritain to verify the origin of 50% of the worlds mohair

Mohair South Africa, the industry body for mohair in South Africa, has increased its commitment to sustainable mohair by partnering with scientific traceability company, Oritain.

South Africa currently produces approximately 50% of the world’s mohair, accounting for nearly 30,000 jobs for local South Africans.

Read more HERE.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Maine fabrics manufacturer accuses Belarus of ‘dumping’ in U.S. market

Kathie Leonard, president and CEO of Auburn Manufacturing Inc., said the dumping – selling products in the U.S. at a very low price, sometimes below the cost of production, to capture market share from domestic companies – is hurting her company as she tries to deal with the business impact of the coronavirus pandemic. It also comes just after Auburn Manufacturing successfully fought off dumping of the same products by China.

Read more in the Press Herald.

Army T-Shirt Contract Awarded to National Industries for the Blind

The National Industries for the Blind, Alexandria, Virginia, has been awarded a maximum $8,728,339 modification (P00008) exercising the second one-year option period of a one-year base contract (SPE1C1-19-D-B043) with four one-year option periods for moisture wicking t-shirts. This is an indefinite-delivery contract. Locations of performance are Virginia, North Carolina, and Arkansas, with an Oct. 30, 2021, ordering period end date. Using military service is Army. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2021 through 2022 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency, Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

CBP Detains Shipment of Chinese Apparel Suspected to be Made with Forced Labor in Xinjiang

In September, CBP personnel at the LA/LB Seaport detained a shipment of women's leather gloves suspected to be made with forced labor.LOS ANGELES — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport detained a shipment containing 32 cartons of women’s leather gloves suspected to have been manufactured using forced labor. The shipment originated in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, where the Chinese government is engaging in systemic human rights abuses against the Uyghur people and other ethnic and religious minorities.

CBP detained the shipment in September in accordance with a Withhold Release Order (WRO) on apparel manufactured by Yili Zhuowan Garment Manufacturing Co., Ltd. and Baoding LYSZD Trade and Business Co., Ltd. That WRO was the product of a months-long CBP investigation that identified forced labor indicators at Yili Zhuowan and Baoding manufacturing sites including the restriction of movement, isolation, intimidation and threats, withholding of wages, and abusive working and living conditions.

“The Trump administration is taking decisive action to combat the brutal practice of forced labor and counteract China’s unfair trade practices,” said CBP Acting Commissioner Mark A. Morgan. “Forced labor not only subjects workers to violence and intimidation, but it also hurts U.S. businesses and the economy.”

Federal statute 19 U.S.C. 1307 prohibits the importation of merchandise mined, manufactured, or produced, wholly or in part, by forced labor, including convict labor, forced child labor, and indentured labor. CBP issues WROs to direct personnel at ports of entry to detain shipments of goods reasonably suspected to have been made by forced labor. Importers of record have three months to re-export detained shipments or to submit proof to CBP that the merchandise was not produced with forced labor.

A CBP Officer at the LA/LB Seaport inspects a shipment of leather gloves suspected to have been made with forced labor in Xinjiang, China.Imported goods made with forced labor create unfair competition for U.S. companies that respect human rights and fair labor standards. All importers operating in the United States are responsible for ensuring that their supply chains are free of forced labor and that the origin and quality of their merchandise align with the laws and principles established by the U.S. Government.

“CBP will not tolerate modern slavery in U.S. commerce,” said Brenda Smith, Executive Assistant Commissioner of the CBP Office of Trade. “We expect every U.S. importer to ensure that its supply chains are free of forced labor.”

In Fiscal Year 2020, CBP issued an unprecedented 13 WROs, including eight on goods from China. Recent CBP WROs have encouraged entities to address concerns about forced labor in their tobacco, gold>, and seafood supply chains, among others. CBP publishes all WROs to its Forced Labor Withhold Release Orders and Findings web page.

CBP receives allegations of forced labor from a variety of sources, including from the public. Any person or organization that has reason to believe merchandise produced with the use of forced labor is being, or likely to be, imported into the U.S. can report detailed allegations by contacting CBP through the e-Allegations Online Trade Violation Reporting System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT.

GUIDANCE: Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBPTA) Renewal with Procedures for Retroactive Duty Refunds

The purpose of this guidance is to inform the Trade of the renewal of the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA) and to provide information on the procedures for requesting a refund of duties paid during the lapse.

CBTPA Renewed

On Saturday, October 10, 2020, the President signed bill H.R. 991, the “Extension of the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act,” extending CBTPA for goods entered or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption from October 1, 2020 through September 30, 2030.

Requesting Duty Refund

Additionally, this bill allows for the refund of duties paid by the importer on CBTPA-eligible goods entered during the lapse period, October 1, 2020 through October 14, 2020.

Importers may file a Post Summary Correction (PSC) requesting a refund of duties paid on goods that were eligible for CBTPA during the lapsed period. The PSC must be filed in a timely manner. If an entry has already liquidated, the refund request may be submitted as a protest. (19 USC 1514, 19 CFR 174).

Filing CBTPA Claims

On and after October 15, 2020, the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) will accept CBTPA (special program indicator “R”) claims, as well as the following provisional HTS numbers for textile and apparel goods:

    9820.11.03                 9820.11.06
    9820.11.09                 9820.11.12
    9820.11.15                 9820.11.18
    9820.11.21                 9820.11.24
    9820.11.27                 9820.11.30
    9820.11.33                 9802.00.8044
    9802.00.8046

Post-Importation CBTPA Claims on Importations Prior to Expiration

Importations made on or before September 30, 2020, remain unaffected by the aforementioned instructions. Importers may continue to make post-importation CBTPA claims in accordance with applicable PSC and protest procedures (19 USC 1514, 19 CFR 174).

CBP proposed revocation of one ruling letter and revocation of treatment relating to the tariff classification of foil print fabric.

On October 14, 2020, (Customs Bulletin Vol. 54, No. 40, beginning on page 17) CBP proposed revocation of one ruling letter and revocation of treatment relating to the tariff classification of foil print fabric.

In Binding Ruling Letter NY N267195, U.S. Customs and Border Protection classified foil print fabric in heading 6004, HTSUS, specifically in subheading 6004.10.85, HTSUS, which provides for “Knitted or crocheted fabrics of a width exceeding 30 cm, containing by weight 5 percent or more of elastometric yarn or rubber thread, other than those of heading 6001: Containing by weight 5 percent or more of elastometric yarn but not containing rubber thread, Other.” CBP has reviewed NY N267195 and has determined the ruling letter to be in error. It is now CBP’s position that foil print fabric is properly classified, in heading 5903, HTSUS, specifically in subheading 5903.90.25, HTSUS, which provides for “Textile fabrics impregnated, coated, covered or laminated with plastics, other than those of heading 5902: Other: Of man-made fibers: Other: Other.”

The provisions relating to Coated Textiles Classified in Chapter 59 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States And Articles Thereof have been the subject of many rulings, reversal of ruling, and even litigation. >Clients of Agathon Associates and subscribers to Agathon Associates' Trade Advisor Service can learn more at http://agathonassociates.com/textile-pri/coated-textiles/index.htm. You will need to enter your username and password. If you do not know your username and password email David Trumbull at david@agathonassociates.com.

Ambassador Robert Lighthizer Issues Statement Concerning the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act

On October 13, 2020, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer issued the following statement concerning the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act:

“President Trump’s October 10 action to reauthorize certain provisions of the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA) will help to preserve well-paying jobs in the U.S. textile industry while also strengthening our trade ties with Caribbean beneficiary countries, especially Haiti. Importantly, CBERA’s eligibility criteria also provide a means to promote more open markets, protection of intellectual property rights, and stronger worker rights in beneficiary countries.”

Background

The Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act was launched in 1983 to facilitate economic development and promote economic diversification in the Caribbean region by providing duty-free access to the U.S. market for certain goods from Caribbean beneficiary countries. In 2000, the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA) expanded this access to additional goods not covered under CBERA including apparel, petroleum products, and some agricultural products. The legislation signed by President Trump extends the CBTPA provisions of CBERA through September 30, 2030. CBTPA is unique among U.S. trade preference programs in that it requires the use of U.S.-manufactured yarns or fabrics in finished apparel goods eligible for trade benefits, supporting many jobs in the U.S. textile sector. The eligibility criteria under CBERA and CBTPA require that beneficiary countries meet certain requirements including 1) providing equitable and reasonable access to the markets and basic commodity resources of the country, 2) protection of intellectual property rights, and 3) taking steps to afford internationally recognized worker rights to their workers. CBTPA beneficiary countries are Barbados, Belize, Curacao, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Ambassador Robert Lighthizer issues Statement on Release of August 2020 Trade Data

On October 6, 2020, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer issued the following statement concerning the August 2020 trade data released by the U.S. Department of Commerce:

“The trade data released today reflect the effects of the coronavirus on the U.S. and our trading partners. Basically, many of our partners were more negatively affected by the pandemic than we were. Indeed, the U.S. economy has outperformed every other G7 country. In spite of the pandemic, our goods deficit is down 2.4% year-to-date. The goods deficit would have decreased by at least 6% but for a large spike in gold imports reflecting risk-hedging strategies during the pandemic, not underlying economics. Our services surplus is down 19%, but that is largely due to reduced tourism, travel, and transport. As other countries recover and reopen, we expect both imports and exports to improve substantially.”

“Additionally, it is worth noting that our year-to-date goods deficit with China is down 16.5%, and is likewise down with Japan (34.7%), the EU 27 (7.7%), and Korea (7%). In the USMCA countries, the U.S. deficit with Canada is down 36% this year and Mexico’s surplus is slightly up due to their economic downturn’s effect on their demand for our exports."

“Overall, the Trump trade policy is working in spite of the virus. It is worth remembering that before the fallout from the pandemic, our goods trade deficit had been down from the previous year in five of the last six quarters, 7.2 million jobs had been created since the election—including over 510,000 manufacturing jobs—and median family income had increased by 6.8% in 2019, the largest increase in U.S. history.”

Key Points

• The trade deficit increased in August because America’s economy has recovered more quickly than our trade partners’. Because of President Trump’s leadership, coronavirus has had a smaller effect on our economy than any other G7 nation. U.S. GDP is down 9% from a year ago compared to 21.5% for Britain, 18.9% for France, 17.7% for Italy, 13% for Canada, 11.3% for Germany, and 9.9% for Japan. Since May, U.S. exports and imports have both begun to rebound, but imports have recovered more quickly. With that said, U.S. goods exports still increased from $90 billion in May to $119.1 billion in August, a 32% increase.

• The trade deficit was shrinking before the pandemic. The U.S. goods trade deficit fell by $16 billion in 2019 and has been down from the previous year in five of the last six quarters.

• This year’s trade deficit increases have been driven by imports of gold bars. Of the $22.6 billion year-t0-date increase in the trade deficit, $22 billion is attributable to a spike in non-monetary gold imports, which reflect risk-hedging strategies by traders and investors during the pandemic and not underlying economics.

• The trade deficit with China is shrinking as the Phase One Deal continues to take effect. In August, the trade deficit with China fell $1.9 billion as exports to China rose and imports remained level. Year-to-date, the goods trade deficit with China also decreased by $38.2 billion (16.5%) from the same period in 2019.

• Overall job growth and manufacturing job growth were strong prior to the pandemic. Between November 2016 and February 2020, the Trump economy added more than 7.2 million jobs, including over 510 thousand manufacturing jobs. The unemployment rate had also fallen from 5.1% in November 2016 to 3.5% in February 2020, a 50-year low.

• Middle class income was surging prior to the pandemic. In 2019, median household income rose by over $4,300 (6.8%) – the largest annual increase on record and nearly 50 percent more than during the entire eight years of the Obama Administration ($3,021).

• Manufacturing wages have continued to rise, despite the pandemic. Average hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees in manufacturing rose by 11.4% between November 2016 and September 2020.

• The U.S. has already regained over half of the jobs that were lost due to the pandemic, including over half of the manufacturing jobs. This year saw the four best months for job growth since the government began tracking the data in 1939: 4.8 million jobs in June, 2.7 million in May, 1.7 million in July, 1.4 million in August. In September, the economy added an additional 661,000, still the highest numbers since September 1983 if you exclude May-August. These numbers include 716,000 manufacturing jobs regained since April. Despite the CBO forecasting an unemployment rate of 16 percent in the third quarter of 2020, the rate has already fallen to 7.9 percent, down from 14.7 percent in April.

Friday, October 9, 2020

AFA 35th Annual Meeting November 12th via ZOOM 9am to 12 noon

The American Flock Association 2020 Annual Meeting will be from 9am to 12 noon on Thursday November 12th via ZOOM. This is an opportunity to stay in touch with fellow industry members. There will be presentations on new developments in the Flock industry as well as updates on trade and tariff issues from Washington.

These are unusual times that call for creative solutions. Although the industry trade shows were canceled the Association wanted to go forward with the Annual Meeting. A virtual meeting on ZOOM eliminates travel time and expenses and allows companies to include colleagues that would not normally travel to the Annual Meeting. Companies are encouraged to have multiple attendees. These folks now have the opportunity of learning first hand about what is going on in the industry.

For more information or to register CLICK HERE.

White House COVID-19 response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx commends URI’s response to pandemic

On October 8, 2020, Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, praised University of Rhode Island leaders for their months of preparation that led to a flexible response to the COVID-19 pandemic during her visit to the Kingston Campus.

Read more HERE.

Global Cashmere Market Disrupted by COVID 19

The Schneider Group reports on disruption of cashmere markets in China, Mongolia, ad the Middle East.

Air Force Shoe Contract Awarded

Belleville Shoe Co., Belleville, Illinois, has been awarded a maximum $9,939,099 modification (P00004) exercising the first one-year option period of one-year base contract (SPE1C1-20-D-1208) with three one-year option periods for temperate weather men’s and women’s coyote boots. This is a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract. Location of performance is Illinois, with an Oct. 10, 2021, ordering period end date. Using military service is Air Force. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2021 through 2022 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

CBP Baltimore Field Office Seizes nearly 59,000 Counterfeit COVID-19 Facemasks and other Test Kits and Medications

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers throughout the Mid-Atlantic region continue to seize caches of counterfeit or unapproved COVID-19 medications, facemasks and test kits that arrived in express consignment during the previous six weeks. Oftentimes, counterfeit products are manufactured in unregulated facilities with substandard materials that could potentially harm American consumers. Read more HERE.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Monday is Columbus Day

Monday, October 12th, is Columbus Day, a federal holiday in the United States. National, State, and local government offices will be closed. Observance of the holiday by the private sector varies from region to region.

Columbus and the Last Hope of Mankind

"We do not read even of the discovery of this continent, without feeling something of a personal interest in the event; without being reminded how much it has affected our own fortunes and our own existence. It would be still more unnatural for us, therefore, than for others, to contemplate with unaffected minds that interesting, I may say that most touching and pathetic scene, when the great discoverer of America stood on the deck of his shattered bark, the shades of night falling on the sea, yet no man sleeping; tossed on the billows of an unknown ocean, yet the stronger billows of alternate hope and despair tossing his own troubled thoughts; extending forward his harassed frame, straining westward his anxious and eager eyes, till Heaven at last granted him a moment of rapture and ecstasy, in blessing his vision with the sight of the unknown world." -- Daniel Webster, First Bunker Hill Monument Oration, 1825

In Boston we are surrounded by familiar sights -- Old North Church, the Old State House, Old South Meeting House, and the other stops on the Freedom Trail -- that remind us of Boston's unique Revolutionary War history. At 245 years distance from 1775, we are nearly two-and-a–half centuries removed from the beginning of the American War of Independence. In like manner, 1775 was a bit more than two-and-a-half centuries (283 years to be precise) removed from Columbus' discovery of the New World. Independence and the Revolutionary War mark not the beginning, but the halfway point in the history of European civilization in America.

In his remarks, quoted above, Mr. Webster, on the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill, traced the origins of the United States not to the Pilgrims and Plymouth Rock (although he mentions them in the oration), nor to the earlier English settlement of Virginia (not even mentioned by Webster), but to Christopher Columbus and his first "sight of the unknown world."

Others came here earlier -- possibly the Vikings, maybe other Europeans, and certainly the American Indians who arrived most probably from Asia by land-bridge to Alaska. But Webster -- and many of us concur -- begins our history with Columbus. All month we celebrate Italian-American Heritage and we celebrate the brave and persevering Italian navigator who opened the way for immigrants from every nation to settle in this New World and create the United States that remains, to quote again from Webster's speech, "the last hope of mankind." This is a phrase that will be echoed by Abraham Lincoln in his December 1862 Annual Message to Congress ("the last best, hope of earth") and Ronald Reagan in his January 1974 "We Will Be a City on a Hill" speech ("the last best hope of man on earth"). God willing America shall continue for many years as a beacon of liberty.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Tent Contract Awarded

Celina Tent, Celina, Ohio (SPE1C1-21-D-1402), has been added as an awardee to the multiple award contract for commercial shelters, issued against solicitation SPE1C1-18-R-0003. (Awarded May 10, 2019)

FTC Adds Seven New Generic Fiber Names

  • On October 6, 2020, the FTC published in the Federal Register (85 FR 63012) Rules and Regulations Under the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act.

    SUMMARY: The Federal Trade Commission (‘‘FTC’’ or ‘‘Commission’’) amends the Rules and Regulations Under the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act (‘‘Textile Rules’’ or ‘‘Rules’’) to incorporate the most recent ISO 2076 standard for generic fiber names.

    DATES: This rule is effective November 5, 2020. The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the rule is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of November 5, 2020.

    In a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (‘‘NPRM’’) published on February 18, 2020 (85 FR 8781),the Commission proposed amending § 303.7 to incorporate the most recent version of the relevant ISO standard, ISO 2076:2013(E), ‘‘Textiles— Man-made fibres—Generic names.’’ This standard includes seven generic fiber names that are not defined in the currently-incorporated 2010 ISO standard:

    • ‘‘chitin,’’
    • ‘‘ceramic,’’
    • ‘‘polybenzimidazol,’’
    • ‘‘polycarbamide,’’
    • ‘‘polypropylene/polyamide bicomponent,’’
    • ‘‘protein,’’ and
    • ‘‘trivinyl.’’
  • Monday, October 5, 2020

    USTR Launches Section 301 Investigation Relating to Vietnam

    At the direction of President Donald J. Trump, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is initiating an investigation addressing two significant issues with respect to Vietnam. USTR will investigate Vietnam’s acts, policies, and practices related to the import and use of timber that is illegally harvested or traded, and will investigate Vietnam’s acts, policies, and practices that may contribute to the undervaluation of its currency and the resultant harm caused to U.S. commerce. USTR will conduct the investigation under Section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act. As part of its investigation on currency undervaluation, USTR will consult with the Department of the Treasury as to issues of currency valuation and exchange rate policy.

    It was an investigation of this type that resulted in the Section 301 tariffs on China.

    We don't know how this investigation will conclude or whether it will result in tariffs on articles of Vietnam origin.

    We also do not know the timing of any action. In the case of the China

    Notice of commencement of investigation August 18, 2017

    Report of results March 22, 2018

    Notice of proposed action (imposition of tariffs) April 6, 2018

    Notice of final determination of which articles will have 301 tariffs June, 20, 2018

    Date of imposition of first round of 301 tariffs July 6, 2018

    Thursday, October 1, 2020

    Dept. of Defense Fabric Shelter Contract Awarded to Bay State Company

    Federal-Fabrics-Fibers Inc., Lowell, Massachusetts (SPE1C1-21-D-1400), has been added as an awardee to the multiple award contract for commercial shelters issued against solicitation SPE1C1-18-R-0003 and awarded May 10, 2019.

    CBP Intercepts Fake Designer Sandals, Purses, Scarves and Wallets Worth Nearly $5 Million at LAX

    On September 30, 2020, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that officers assigned to the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) cargo operations in coordination with import specialists from the Consumer Products and Mass Merchandising (CPMM) and the Apparel, Footwear and Textiles (AFT) Centers of Excellence and Expertise (Centers) seized 7,170 counterfeit high-fashion products arriving via express air cargo from China.

    The seized items included 2,175 counterfeit Louis Vuitton sandals, 475 Chanel counterfeit sandals; 450 Dior counterfeit sandals; 400 Fendi counterfeit sandals; 375 Versace counterfeit sandals; 325 Gucci counterfeit sandals; 572 Dior counterfeit cross body handbags; 625 Louis Vuitton counterfeit clutches; 357 Gucci purses; 346 Gucci wallets and 1,100 Louis Vuitton scarves. If genuine, the seized merchandise would have had an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $4,899,905.00.

    Read more HERE.

    Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy: Comment Request.

    On October 1, 2020, the Office of the United States Trade Representative published in the Federal Register (85 FR 62006) [Docket Number USTR–2020–0035] 2020 Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy: Comment Request.

    The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) requests comments that identify online and physical markets to be considered for inclusion in the 2020 Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy (Notorious Markets List). The Notorious Markets List identifies examples of online and physical markets that reportedly engage in and facilitate substantial copyright piracy or trademark counterfeiting. The issue focus for the 2020 Notorious Markets List will examine the use of e-commerce platforms and other third-party intermediaries to facilitate the importation of counterfeit and pirated goods into the United States.

    DATES: November 8, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. ET: Deadline for submission of written comments. November 22, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. ET: Deadline for submission of rebuttal comments and other information USTR should consider during the review.