WASHINGTON — The House Appropriations Committee has approved a $56.9 billion spending bill and instructed the administration to extend a Vietnam apparel monitoring program for a year and expand it to include apparel and textile imports from China.
The surprise move on Wednesday could be a roadblock for apparel retailers and brands that anticipated quota-free trade with China and less scrutiny of imports from Vietnam.
The U.S. textile industry has made its top policy initiative either securing a legislative solution or help from the administration to restrain imports from China and Vietnam, two of the biggest suppliers to the U.S. The countries shipped a total of $36.9 billion worth of textiles and apparel to the U.S. in the year ended April 30.
"The Committee expects [the International Trade Administration, a division of the Commerce Department] to undertake apparel import monitoring, including socks, focusing on prices of imports from China and Vietnam, and whether their state-run industries are illegally pricing products and dumping in the U.S. market," according to a report accompanying the legislation.
The spending bill, which funds Commerce and the U.S. Trade Representative's Office for the 2009 fiscal year, will go to the House floor for a vote. The companion bill in the Senate does not include the monitoring provision, which means the two bills would have to be reconciled in conference. If the bills are not completed this year, the next Congress will have to draft and introduce new measures next year.
"This is a strong posture on the part of the U.S. Congress in regard to this critical issue confronting the U.S. textile industry, namely what happens when China becomes quota free on Jan. 1, 2009," said Auggie Tantillo, executive director of the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition. "A need for this language is supported by the incredible surge that we saw in 2005 when quotas were first removed on China."
Although Commerce has not found adequate evidence of dumping in the imports from Vietnam, Tantillo said the program has served as a disincentive for producers to slash prices. The Vietnam monitoring program was initiated to see whether goods were being sold in the U.S. below market value or the cost of manufacturing.The bill was sure to cause concern among apparel sourcing executives who have been trying to recalibrate their strategies in anticipation of the U.S. lifting quotas on Chinese apparel and textile imports at year's end and the expiration of the Vietnam monitoring program. The total value of textile and apparel imports under quota from China was $8.65 billion for the year ending April 30, representing 27 percent of the total annual apparel and textile imports from China.
The Vietnam monitoring program is set to expire at the end of the Bush administration in January and officials have said they will not renew it.
EXCLUSIVE: Two and half months after John Targon, cofounder and codesigner of Baja East, was hired as creative director of the contemporary division at Marc Jacobs, he has left the company, WWD has learned. Marc Jacobs International, which is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, confirmed Targon’s departure in a statement: “John Targon is a talented designer and we appreciate the work he has done here. Ultimately working together did not make sense for the brand and we wish him the best.” Read the story by @jessiredale, link in bio. #wwdnews
@theluxurycollection is officially launching a collection, tapping Sofia Sanchez de Betak for the capsule. Over 30 styles will be featured in the Chufy x The Luxury Collection, debuting next month at Bergdorf Goodman, The Webster, FiveStory and more. De Betak, known as “@chufy,” drew inspiration for the collection from her trips to Japan in the past year #wwdfashion
@lhd, founder and CEO of @thewebster, has teamed up with @lebonmarcherivegauche for the European launch of her ready-to-wear line, LHD. The launch will come with an exclusive pop-up opening today that’s set to run through May 20. Located on the second floor, it carries her debut Miami-themed resort collection, launched in November as see-now-buy-now. #wwdfashion
@longchamp, which marks its 70th anniversary this year, just opened its biggest U.S. store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. On the lower level there’s a floor-to-ceiling display of the brand’s iconic Le Pliage bag – in all of its different colors, shapes and sizes. Customers can also have their product personalized in-store by imprinting names, initials or emblems. #wwdfashion (📷: @ericmtownsend)
“Whenever I’m in that place of sound and music, I don’t have fear or nervousness…This album has a lot of themes of courage and boldness and I want to be the soundtrack for people’s lives. I’ll be so happy if [my songs] evoke strength in people, which I know music has done for me,” says @kimbramusic of her newest album “Primal Heart.” The New Zealand-born singer sat down with WWD to talk about her music, newest tour and connecting with hear fans — read more on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
Luxury handbag resale company @rebagofficial is planning to sell a rare collectible for $70,000: the @hermes White Crocodile Himalayan Birkin. The exclusive Birkin sold for about $100,000 in 2008, when @davidbeckham bought one for his wife @victoriabeckham to add to her collection. Read more about the rare Birkin on WWD.com #wwdaccessories
With her costume pearl necklace and what-you-see-is-what-you-get style, Barbara Bush, who died Tuesday at age 92, was a straight-shooter from start to finish.
Born Barbara Pierce in New York City, Bush served as the 37th first lady, as well as the country’s second lady from 1981 to 1989. In addition to being part of the longest presidential marriage — 73 years — Bush also had the unlikely distinction of having one son, George W., become the 43rd president and another son, Jeb, run unsuccessfully in 2016. Having served as second lady during the Reagan administration’s two terms and lived all over the world during her own husband’s ascending political career, Barbara Bush made it clear that literacy — not fashion — was her priority. Read more from Rosemary Feitelberg’s obituary on the late First Lady in WWD.com, link in bio. #barbarabush #wwdnews
Western and ’90s trends have influenced denim for fall 2018. Think raw, dark and coated jeans mixed with bold prints and tough leather. #trendtuesdays #wwdfashion (Styled by @thealexbadia;📷: @ryanplett)