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.
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)
The @cfda has shifted the dates of #NYFW, with Men’s showing on February 5 through February 7, and Women’s will directly follow, running from February 8 through 14. The preliminary schedule will be released on the CFDA’s web site in the next few days, but Mark Beckham, VP of marketing for the CFDA, revealed that @rafsimons will be back to close the men’s-specific part of the week with a show on February 7 #wwdfashion (📷: Kelly Taub)
@ferragamo is introducing a new space dedicated to the development of women’s and men’s leather good samples. The laboratory, which is created eco-friendly materials and designed to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes, will allow the company to expand its accessories offering through traditional artisanal approaches. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
How does a “regular, degular, schmegular” girl from the Bronx, N.Y., become a Grammy-nominated artist with a certified platinum record in less than a year? Call it the @iamcardib come up. The 25-year-old has become a musical sensation, and the fashion world is taking note. “If I could describe her style I would say drama. She’s really into the dramatics,” says Cardi B’s stylist @kollincarter. See how Carter styles her bold and out there looks with the link in bio. #wwdfashion
“There is no formula. There is no guideline. I can watch Ted Talks all day, but there is no one who can advise me on exactly what it is I should be doing,” said @ronniefieg, CEO of @kith, in an interview with WWD’s @ariahughes at the brand’s new SoHo office in Manhattan. Head to WWD.com to see how Fieg went from hanging out in shoe stockrooms at 13 to building his own business. #wwdfashion (📷: @weston.wells)
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion