WASHINGTON — Domestic cotton and wool apparel manufacturers and textile producers stand to gain significant aid from the federal government, according to details released Tuesday on the farm bill that is set for a House vote today.
U.S. cotton and wool apparel producers and cotton yarn spinners have faced higher costs since one government trust fund expired five years ago and another fell short of its funding capabilities.
The massive compromise farm bill now before Congress, which provides billions of dollars in funding to broadly implement farm safety-net policies and conservation and food stamp programs over five years, would restore funding for the cotton and wool funds, and provide new monies for research and development. However, it must first pass the House and then the Senate, where broad-based opposition exists over the size of the food stamp program and some agriculture subsidies.
The measure establishes the Pima Agriculture Cotton Trust Fund, which would run through 2018 and provide $16 million in funding annually. It essentially restores the Cotton Trust Fund, which expired in 2009 and suspended duties on imported cotton shirt fabric, and provided grants to cotton shirt manufacturers and yarn spinners in the U.S. It was created to offset an inverted tariff — the U.S. duty on imported finished cotton shirts was lower than the tariff on cotton shirt fabrics, which impacted the competitiveness of U.S.-based cotton shirt makers.
Half of the fund will be paid to manufacturers who cut and sew cotton shirts in the U.S. that certify they used imported cotton fabric. Twenty-five percent of the fund will be paid to ringspun cotton yarn spinners that use pima cotton, grown in Texas and Southern California, and the remaining 25 percent would be dedicated to restoring the pima cotton promotion program.
The farm bill will also restore funding to the Wool Trust Fund under a new name. The fund makes payments to U.S. wool fabric and yarn producers, as well as sheep growers, to encourage more production of wool fabrics. But the tariff revenues collected on wool yarn and fabric imports fell sharply in 2009 and 2010, leaving the trust fund unable to make payments.
The new Agriculture Wool Apparel Manufacturers Trust Fund would provide retroactive payments dating back to 2010 and run through 2019. It provides up to $30 million in annual funding. The farm bill also seeks to create a new wool research and promotion fund, allocating $2.25 million annually from 2015 through 2019.
Textile producers also stand to gain from a new Economic Assistance Adjustment program that would give U.S. textile mills 3 cents a pound on domestic or imported upland cotton they use, as long as the money is invested in acquiring, modernizing or expanding land, plants, buildings or equipment.
The legislation also seeks to resolve a long-standing cotton subsidy dispute with Brazil and bring U.S. cotton programs into line with World Trade Organization requirements by eliminating direct payments of about $580 million a year to cotton farmers, ending countercyclical payments and modifying the export guarantee program.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews