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AAFA Newsbreaker
March 17, 2009
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In this issue...
Legislative, Trade & Regulatory News
  • Congress Approves & Obama Signs FY 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Bill
  • AAFA Provides Advice to Obama Administration
  • Ill-Advised Card Check Legislation Re-Introduced
  • CPSC Holds Meeting on Phtalaltes
  • California's Prop 65 Phtalaltes Concerns Increase
  • CPSC Recalls Ice Skates and Hooded Sweatshirts
  • Obama Nominates New Trade Official as Others Move Towards Confirmation
  • Customs Proposes Excluding US Parts Used in Foreign Repairs from Dutiable Value Under 9802
  • Apparel/Footwear Retail Sales Partially Rebound During January-February
  • US Apparel Imports Lower in January, But US Footwear Imports Rebound
    AAFA Member News
  • Star Ride Kids Joins AAFA
  • AAFA’s Annual Executive Summit a Success
    In the Press
  • Labor Union Bill Raises Broader Capitalism Issues
  • Dems Dragging Feet on Consumer Bill
  • Safety Act Costs Businesses $2 Billion
  • U.S. to Toughen Trade Stance
  • Legislative, Trade & Regulatory News

    President Barack Obama signed into law the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009 on March 11 to fund the US government through the rest of the fiscal year. The legislation included a number of items that affect AAFA members, including: AAFA-opposed report language that urges the US Department of Commerce to monitor US apparel imports from China and Vietnam and determine whether those imports are being dumped on the US market; AAFA-supported funding of $100,000 for TC2 and the National Textile Center; an AAFA-supported 25 percent increase in funding for the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to implement the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA); and an AAFA-opposed moratorium that bans funding to continue the current US/Mexico Cross-Border Trucking Pilot Program. In response to the report language, the Chairs and Ranking Members of House Ways & Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee sent a letter March 12 to President Obama stating the report language is unnecessary and duplicative and that the US Department of Commerce should immediately refrain from implementing the report language. Meanwhile, after President Obama signed the legislation into law, Mexico immediately announced that it will impose punitive tariffs on approximately $2.4 billion worth of imports from the United States in retaliation for the Mexico truck decision. President Obama left the door open on the Mexico trucking issue, saying he would be open to finding an alternative to resolving the stalemate over opening the US border to Mexican trucks. (Nate Herman)

    AAFA submitted a white paper to President Barack Obama on March 11 outlining ways the industry and the Obama administration can work together to strengthen the US apparel and footwear industries, especially in the current economic climate. The topics covered in the white paper range from preserving the Berry Amendment and improving the way product safety is implemented to preventing new barriers to trade in the United States, opening foreign market to US-made and US-branded apparel and footwear and opposing legislation that would take away rights from US workers. (Nate Herman)

    House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-CA) and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Edward Kennedy (D-MA) On March 10 re-introduced the card check bill, the so-called Employee Free Choice Act. The Senate-version of the bill, S. 560, has forty original cosponsors, all Democrats, eight fewer than last year's bill. The House-version, H.R. 1409, has 222 cosponsors, which, while representing a majority of the House, is actually eleven fewer than the bill had last year. AAFA continues to strongly oppose the bill and has recently posted an alert and letter on the AAFA website for member companies to use to urge their Senators and Congressmen to vote against the legislation when it is considered later this year. AAFA is also planning a lobby day for members later this Spring. (Kurt Courtney)

    Product Showcase:
    STR Apparel & Footwear Testing

    Substantiating the quality, safety and responsible sourcing of apparel and footwear. STR delivers comprehensive services for the apparel & footwear industry including physical, chemical, biomechanical and field testing, flammability, fiber content, colorfastness, dimensional stability, strength, performance, construction, aging, care label verification, and fiber identification and analysis. Our responsible sourcing audits and training services are internationally recognized and offer a thorough and objective analysis of labor conditions at factories. Starting right at the source, we work with our clients to secure quality, conformity and social responsibility of products at every stage of manufacture. More info

    The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) held a public meeting on phthalates on March 12. The meeting gave the public a chance to comment on the CPSC's proposed rulemaking defining which products would constitute "child care articles" and "children's toys" and would, therefore, be subject to the phthalates ban under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). The meeting and presentations are available CPSC website. (Rebecca Mond)

    The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently provided an interpretation regarding the applicability of the phthalates ban under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) to children's clothing (see previous article). However, even if an article of clothing or footwear are not subject to the phthalate restrictions under the CPSIA or comparable laws in California and several other states, they could still be subject to an enforcement action under California's Proposition 65 and its requirement for warnings on all products distributed in California that expose consumers to certain listed chemicals, including di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP). In recent months, Proposition 65 "private enforcers" have been actively serving 60-day notices of violation and filing lawsuits against manufacturers of children's clothing and footwear that contain DEHP. AAFA members who receive a 60-day notice should take prompt action to respond, rather than presume that the CPSC's interpretation under the CPSIA will protect them. For additional information and resources on this issue, please go to AAFA's Products Law Advisory Service. (Rebecca Mond)

    The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in conjunction with Pronto Sports, announced a voluntary recall of 600 boy's ice skates on March 12 for violation of the federal lead paint standard. The skates were sold at Dick's Sporting Goods from September 2008 to December 2008. Later that day, the CPSC also announced a voluntary recall of hooded sweatshirts from Seattle Cotton Works due to a strangulation hazard from the drawstrings. The recall affects about 40,000 units sold exclusively at Kohl's Department Stores from January 2009 through February 2009. There have not been any injuries or incidents attributed to either product. (Rebecca Mond)

    Register today for the May 6-8 AAFA International Sourcing, Customs & Logistics Integration Conference in Norfolk, VA and reserve your hotel room now. Click here to register or for more information, or contact Cat Schmierer at 703.797.9061.

    President Barack Obama nominated Senate Finance Committee Chief Trade Counsel Demetrios Marantis for the position of Deputy US Trade Representative (USTR) on March 12. On the same day, the Senate Finance Committee approved the nomination of former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk to be US Trade Representative. Mr. Kirk is expected to be formally confirmed by the full US Senate this week. Finally, President Obama's nominee for US Secretary of Commerce, former Washington State Governor Gary Locke, will appear before the Senate Commerce Committee this week for his first confirmation hearing. (Nate Herman)

    US Customs and Border Protection (Customs) on March 13 requested comments on a proposal to exclude from the dutiable value of repairs, alterations or processing performed abroad on articles exported from the United States and returned under HTS 9802 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), the value of US-origin parts used in the foreign repairs, alterations or processing. According to the Federal Register notice, Customs claims the proposed changes would provide an incentive to use US-origin parts in the foreign repairs, alterations or processing of articles entered under 9802. Comments are due May 12. (Nate Herman)


    According to the US Census Bureau's March 12 release of February Advance Monthly Sales, seasonally adjusted retail sales at US clothing and clothing accessories stores, including shoe stores, followed an upwardly revised month-on-month increase of 4.9 percent in January with an equally encouraging 2.8 percent jump in February, although sales were still 3.1 percent lower than in February 2008. February seasonally adjusted retail sales at US department stores advanced 1.1 percent from the previous month but were 5.4 percent lower than in February 2008. Seasonally adjusted retail sales at all US general merchandise stores (which includes discount stores like Kohl's, Target and Wal-Mart as well as regular department stores) went up by 1.3 percent in February and were 2.3 percent higher than in February 2008. (Nate Herman)

    US apparel imports (actual data) declined 7.0 percent to 1.7 billion square meter equivalents (SME) in quantity terms and 6.3 percent to $5.4 billion in value terms in January 2009, compared to January 2008, while US footwear imports (actual data) rose by 4.9 percent to 213.9 million pairs in quantity terms and 10.4 percent to $1.8 billion in terms of value in January 2009. For a more detailed summary of the trade numbers, please go to AAFA's website. (Nate Herman)

    The law firm of Steptoe & Johnson LLP invites you to subscribe to our free newsletters: Customs Law Advisory, Apparel Industry Alert, and Upcoming Events. These periodic newsletters provide legal insight that may be crucial to your business. Subscribe today

    AAFA Member News

    Star Ride
    Steve Levy, Director of Operations
    112 West 34th Street, Suite 830
    New York, NY 10120
    Phone: 212.695.2888

    Star Ride Kids is a leading children’s apparel importer. The Star Ride collections encompass in-house brands, including Star Ride Girls, Pretty Young Thing (P.Y.T.), Panyc, Urban Underground, Boyz Threadz and several key licensed brands, including Z. Cavaricci girls, Carter's Watch the Wear, Save the Earth, CXT/Int’l Trucks, Chrysler/Plymouth cars, Betty Boop, Beetle Bailey, Dennis the Menace, Felix the Cat, Itty Bitty Kitty, Popeye, Hershey’s Licensed Product, Just Born confections, Necco candies, Nestle Nesquick, Smarties candies and Tootsie Roll.

    AAFA hosted its Annual Executive Summit in Bonita Springs, Florida last week. The three-day conference's focus on leadership, innovation and global affairs brought together apparel and footwear CEOs to discuss emerging trends, challenges and opportunities currently facing the industry. Moderated by Marshal Cohen, Chief Industry Analyst, The NPD Group, the program spotlighted these themes -- revealing four tenets of leadership, seven stages of business and four key solutions to world affairs. The Honorable Edward Koch, former mayor of New York City delivered the finale address with great enthusiasm and candor. AAFA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke also announced during the Summit that Ms. Carol Hochman, President and CEO of The Triumph Apparel Corporation (Danskin), has assumed the chairmanship of the AAFA Board of Directors. She succeeds outgoing chairman Peter Gabbe, COO of Carole Hochman Design Group (see AAFA press release). Plans for the 2010 AAAFA Annual Executive Summit will be announced shortly. (Susan Lapetina)

    In the Press

    Labor Union Bill Raises Broader Capitalism Issues
    from The Washington Post
    The Employee Free Choice Act seemed destined to be a relatively narrow clash between unions and employers. But amid the economic downturn, it is turning into a debate over fundamental questions of American capitalism. More

    Dems Dragging Feet on Consumer Bill
    from Politico
    Do Democrats really care about job losses? If they did, they would move quickly to amend the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008. More

    Safety Act Costs Businesses $2 Billion
    from Toy News Online
    The Toy Industry Association has surveyed manufacturers, importers and retailers to find information about the impact the 2008 Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) legislation is having on the toy industry. More

    U.S. to Toughen Trade Stance
    from The Washington Post
    The Obama administration is aggressively reworking U.S. trade policy to more strongly emphasize domestic and social issues, from the displacement of American workers to climate change. More

    AAFA Events & Educational Programs

    Mar. 23-25, 2009
    Human Resources Leadership Committee Meeting

    Hosted by VF Corporation, Nashville, TN

    Mar. 26-27, 2009
    China Product Safety Conference


    Mar. 30-31, 2009
    China Product Safety Conference


    Complete schedule of events

    AAFA Member Partners & Programs

    By AAFA partner,
    Boxwood Technology, Inc.
    Employer and employee
    job services.

    Freight Savings Plan
    By AAFA partner, Siriani & Associates, Inc.
    Save on shipping costs.

    Footwear Testing Services
    By AAFA partner, Intertek
    Expert resource and discount technical testing

    RFID Savings Program
    By AAFA partner, Avery Dennison
    Negotiated below-market priced labels

    XRF Analyzers
    By new AAFA partners,
    Innov-x and Thermo Scientific.
    Identification and quantification of toxic metals in products.

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    Ben Maitland, Director of Advertising Sales

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