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Home   About   Media Room   Membership   Resources   Issues   Industry Tools   Events Nov. 29, 2011
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Nov. 30, 2011
International Product Safety and Restricted Substances Conference
Dhaka, Bangladesh

Dec. 6, 2011
International Product Safety and Restricted Substances Conference
Bangalore, India

Dec. 13, 2011
Brand Protection Council Meeting
New York, NY

Dec. 14, 2011
RFID Supplier ROI Use Case Data Collection and Analysis
Free Online Webinar

Jan. 31, 2012
Retail Hotspots: Developing a Strategy to Globalize
New York, NY

Feb. 1, 2011
Product Safety and Sustainability Seminar & Exhibition
New York, NY

Mar. 14-16, 2012
AAFA Annual Executive Summit
Washington, DC

click here for complete schedule of events

member partners & programs

Attain Academy

Discounts on webinars and
on-line discussions for
reducing & controlling
chargeback and deductions.

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

Footwear Testing Services
By AAFA partner, Intertek
Expert resource and preferential testing rates for AAFA members.

Gemini Shippers Group
Gemini Shippers Group combines ocean freight volume to negotiate more favorable contracts. (d/b/a for FASA)

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


 new member

AAFA Welcomes New Member: Shanghai Richina Leather Co, Ltd

Shanghai Richina Leather Co, Ltd.
Robert Moore, President and CEO
768 Nan Da Road
Shanghai, P.R. China
US Phone: 650-799-3833
International Phone: +86-21-6250-3354

Shanghai Richina Leather is a leading producer of premium leathers for the footwear, accessories and auto industries. The company is headquartered in Shanghai, with offices in New York and Boston.

Top clients include Timberland, The North Face, Merrell, Wolverine, Sebago, Sperry Topsider, Rocky Brands, Clarks, Coach, Rockport, Cole Haan, and Johnston and Murphy. Auto customers include Toyota, Shanghai GM, Ford, Jeep, Nissan, Citroen and Peugeot.

 legislative and regulatory news

Footwear — Textile Outsole Rule Changes Go Into Effect December 3

New rules governing the ability to use textile outsoles (fabric bottoms) to lower the duty-rates on imports of footwear go into effect December 3, 2011. President Barack Obama issued a proclamation October 31 ushering in the rule changes. With the publication of the presidential proclamation in the Federal Register on November 3, 2011, AAFA has updated its primer for AAFA members detailing what the new rules mean for footwear importers. The new footwear textile outsole rules will impact, by some estimates, over 500 million pairs of shoes, or almost one quarter of the footwear imported into the United States every year. (Nate Herman)

Intellectual Property — China Agrees to Continue IPR Enforcement Efforts

Last week, China agreed to make permanent its 2010 intellectual property rights (IPR) enforcement campaign to prevalent the rampant growth of counterfeiting and pirating of U.S. trademarks. Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan will lead the program through the creation of a new government entity designed specifically to target IPR crime. This announcement came at the end of the most recent U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce & Trade (JCCT) meeting. U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson called China's new commitments a "step in the right direction." The campaign will also focus on the "rogue Web sites," which sell infringing counterfeit goods on the internet to unsuspecting consumers. U.S. government officials said they will be part of an industry-government program next year with their counterparts in the Chinese government to "identify new approaches to combating the sale of infringing hard goods on online markets." (Kurt Courtney)

Labor — NLRB Votes on Election Rule; House Votes to Overturn It

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will hold a public meeting November 30 to vote on several amendments attached to the controversial election rule changes released in June. The proposed rule changes would significantly reduce the time period in which an election for union representation is held. The NLRB has received over 65,000 written comments in response to the proposal and legislation has been introduced in the House to prevent the rule from going into effect. House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline introduced the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act (H.R. 3094) on October 5, 2011. The bill guarantees a minimum of 35 days before an election to give employees time to hear from both their employer and union reps and would protect a worker's right to privacy by allowing workers to decide what kind of personal contact info is provided to unions during an election. The legislation would also overturn the September NLRB Specialty Healthcare decision and would reinstate the traditional standard for determining bargaining units. A vote on this bill is expected this week. AAFA has joined several other organizations in supporting the bill. AAFA encourages members to visit the AAFA Legislative Action Center and urge your elected officials to support the bill. (Marie D'Avignon)

Retail Prices — Apparel & Footwear Retail Prices Continue to Rise in October

According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics November 16 release of the October 2011 Consumer Price Index (CPI), non-seasonally adjusted retail prices for apparel and most footwear continued to grow in October. Non-seasonally-adjusted retail prices for apparel in October rose 1.9% over September. October retail prices for women's and girls' apparel increased by 2.2%, infants' and toddlers' apparel by 1.2%, and men and boys' apparel by 2.5%. Compared to October 2010, October apparel prices surged 4.2%, led by increases in prices for men's and boys' apparel (4.7%), women's and girls' apparel (4.6%), and infants' and toddlers' apparel (3.0%). Overall retail footwear prices in October remained unchanged from September. October juvenile footwear prices declined by 1.1% and men's footwear prices fell 1.6%, but those declines were more than made up for by a 1.6% increase in October women's footwear prices. October footwear retail prices also remained unchanged from October 2010. While October men's footwear prices (-0.8%) were below October 2010 levels, October women's footwear prices were up 0.5% over October 2010 and juvenile footwear prices remained unchanged. Overall retail prices in October rose 3.5% over October 2010. (Damon Jeffres/Nate Herman)

Retail Sales — Apparel and Footwear Sales Stall in October

According to the U.S. Census Bureau's November 15 release of October 2011 Advanced Monthly Sales, seasonally adjusted retail sales at U.S. clothing and clothing accessories stores, which includes shoe stores, slipped 0.7% in October from September, but rose 5.8 percent from October 2010. October seasonally adjusted retail sales at U.S. department stores grew by slipped 1.2% from September and were virtually unchanged from October 2010 sales (-0.2%). October seasonally adjusted retail sales at all U.S. general merchandise stores (which includes discount stores like Kohl's, Target and Walmart as well as regular department stores) were unchanged from September, but increased 3.8% over October 2010. October overall retail sales increased 0.5 percent from September, and surged 7.2 percent from October 2010. (Damon Jeffres/Nate Herman)

Trade Numbers — Apparel and Footwear Imports Stall In First Nine Months of 2011

According to September 2011 trade data released by the U.S. Department of Commerce November 17, U.S. apparel imports stalled (+0.1%) and U.S. footwear imports fell (-1.7%) in the first nine months of 2011. The slowdown reflects continued uncertainty in the U.S. apparel and footwear markets (including rising inventories) as well as continued uncertainty in the overall economy. Import prices for apparel (12%) and footwear (18%) jumped in the first nine months of 2011, reflecting quickly mounting cost pressures throughout the supply chain. U.S. apparel (-3.9%) and footwear (2.9) imports from China are down in the first nine months of 2011. This is the first decline in US apparel and footwear imports from China in decades, possibly ever, and those declines have started to accelerate over the summer and early fall. Yet China remains the dominant supplier, supplying 40.2% of all U.S. apparel imports and 86.8% of all U.S. footwear imports in the first nine months of 2011. For apparel, U.S. imports from the CAFTA-DR region grew a modest 0.9% in the first nine months of 2011, a tremendous slowdown in growth from earlier this year. Yet, CAFTA-DR's market share continues to grow slightly, with CAFTA-DR now supplying 12.5% of all U.S. apparel imports. Out of the CAFTA-DR countries, the only growth is in Nicaragua (+20.2%) and Guatemala (+9.3%) in the first nine months of 2011. U.S. apparel imports from all other CAFTA-DR countries are down in the first nine months of 2011. As per other top suppliers for apparel, U.S. apparel imports increased from #2 supplier Vietnam (+9.8%), #3 supplier Bangladesh (+4.3%), #4 supplier Indonesia (+8.3%), #6 supplier Cambodia (+13.9%), #12 supplier the Philippines (+20.2%), #15 supplier Sri Lanka (+5.8%), #16 supplier Haiti (+16.3%), and #17 supplier Egypt (+5.3%) in the first nine months of 2011. U.S. imports from the AGOA region grew 3.4% in the first nine months of 2011, but U.S. imports from the Andean region fell 12.0% in the first nine months of 2011 due to continued uncertainty over renewal of Andean preferences and passage of the free trade agreement with Colombia. For footwear, the search for alternatives to China led to increases in U.S. footwear imports from a number of suppliers, including #2 supplier Vietnam (+22.8%) , #3 supplier Indonesia (+33.9%), #4 supplier Mexico (+8.8%), #9 supplier the Dominican Republic (+24.3%), #12 supplier Cambodia (+197.0%), #13 supplier Spain (+13.3%), #15 supplier Germany (+19.9%), #16 supplier Portugal (+47.8%), #17 supplier Bangladesh (+109.7%), #18 supplier Romania (+56.0%), and #20 supplier Nicaragua (+1,976.5%) in the first nine months of 2011. On the other hand, U.S. brands/retailers continued to turn away from other traditional suppliers. For example, U.S. footwear imports from former #3 supplier Brazil (which has now fallen to #6) slid 65.9% in the first nine months of 2011. (Nate Herman)

Labeling — FTC Holds Public Hearing on Fur Products Name Guide

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a Federal Register Notice November 22 concerning regulations of the Fur Products Labeling Act (Fur Act). As part of its congressionally mandated review process, the FTC will hold a public hearing on the Fur Products Name Guide to gather comments on whether the Guide should be amended. Under the Fur Act, the FTC is required to maintain a register of names of all hair, fleece, and fur-bearing animals by which the animal can be properly identified. The hearing will be held on Tuesday, December 6, 2011 from 9am to 1pm at the FTC's Conference Center in Washington, DC. It will also be available via live webcast at (Marie D'Avignon)

 member updates

Product Safety — AAFA Product Safety Council Tours CPSC Testing Lab and Meets with CPSC Chairman

The AAFA Product Safety Council was one of the first groups to tour the CPSC's new testing facility earlier this month. During the Tour AAFA PSC members were able to get a closer look at the broad range of products and tests that the CPSC is required to perform on a daily basis. We were also able to witness the increase in resources and equipment at the disposal of CPSC staff since the new testing facility has opened, including their fabric flammability lab and their expansive chemical testing lab. The meeting also provided AAFA members the opportunity to discuss industry concerns with implementation of the CPSIA, the database, drawstrings, flammability, and the product safety database directly with Ms. Inez Tenenbaum, Chairman of the CPSC. PSC members were able to ask of the Chairman as well as delve into very expansive conversations on best practices and ways to move forward in an ever expanding regulatory world. (Michael McDonald)

Featured Event — Retail Hotspots: Developing a Strategy to Globalize

Retail access in the global marketplace is exploding, giving U.S. brands the opportunity to scale new heights with an eager and ready to buy consumer base. Success, however, is not a one size fits all proposition and the risks are as plentiful as the opportunities. Focusing on market entry, operation models, consumer demographics and more in the BRIC nations, AAFA announces its new workshop on emerging retail markets, Retail Hotspots: Developing a Strategy to Globalize. We look forward to case study presentations from global experts discussing the unique qualities for each country: Brazil, Russia, India, and China. Join this high level discussion on Tuesday, January 31, 2012 in NYC at PwC's conference facilities along with sponsors, PwC. Alvanon and Bureau Veritas. Registration is open on the AAFA Web site. (Susan Lapetina)

 recent AAFA blog posts

Thinking About Four Million People
Political Trends | November 22, 2011
In an in-depth interview during Sunday's episode of 60 Minutes, singer Taylor Swift very candidly talked about getting dressed. She confided, "I definitely think of a million people when I'm getting dressed in the morning."  More

 from the headlines

Operation In Our Sites nabs 150 websites on Cyber Monday
Launched in June 2010, Operation In Our Sites is a federal law enforcement initiative that targets the sale of counterfeit goods and intellectual property piracy on the Internet. For the second year in a row, the it rolled out on Cyber Monday.  More

Record number of bargain hunters spend weekend finding holiday deals
The Associated Press via
More Americans hunted for bargains over the weekend than ever before as retailers lured them online and into stores with big discounts and an earlier-than-usual start to the holiday shopping season. A record 226 million shoppers visited stores and websites during the four-day holiday weekend starting on Thanksgiving Day, up from 212 million last year, according to early estimates by The National Retail Federation.  More

China: Looking to boost imports from US
The Wall Street Journal
China hopes to further boost its imports from the U.S. next year — as long as the U.S. provides a fair and free environment for trade and investment, Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming said.  More

Clothing bags unchanged for 2012; allowances dip
Army Times
Soldiers will see no changes in the contents of their uniform clothing bag in fiscal 2012, but clothing replacement allowances will drop due to adjustments in the price and expected wear life of various items.  More

White House launches campaign against IP theft
Women's Wear Daily
Federal authorities, in conjunction with the National Crime Prevention Council, launched a public education campaign at the White House aimed at combating counterfeit and pirated goods. Through a series of TV public services announcements, radio and print advertisements, and online videos and social media tools, the initiative seeks to raise public awareness about the negative and dangerous consequences of intellectual property theft through counterfeiting and pirating.  More

AAFA Newsbreaker
American Apparel & Footwear Association
1601 N. Kent St., Ste. 1200, Arlington, VA 22209
Phone: 703-524-1864 Fax: 703-522-6741

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