WASHINGTON — The House Ways & Means Committee will consider whether special scrutiny of foreign imports is needed to prevent damage to the U.S. textile industry, chairman Charles Rangel said Tuesday.
Citing intense competition from China and Vietnam, Rangel (D., N.Y.) said at a National Press Club forum on U.S. competitiveness that the panel believes in “protecting [the domestic textile industry’s] interests at the same time we’re promoting trade with other countries.”
The issue is on the committee’s agenda before Congress adjourns this year, he said.
Rangel’s remarks and his committee’s interest in the industry issue comes at a time of intensified lobbying by apparel importers and the U.S. textile industry over apparel and textile imports from Vietnam and China.
Four leading apparel importer and retail trade associations sent a letter Tuesday to Rangel and Rep. Jim McCrery (R., La.), the ranking Republican on the committee, and Sens. Max Baucus (D., Mont.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), ranking Republican on Finance, outlining their opposition to extending the government’s import monitoring program.
A Vietnam monitoring program, administered by the Commerce Department to evaluate whether apparel is being sold in the U.S. below market value or the cost of manufacturing, known as dumping, will expire in mid-January. In addition, a three-year bilateral quota agreement with China that restricts 34 categories of apparel and textile imports is set to end by Dec. 31.
The textile industry has suffered huge jobs losses partly because of international trade. The industry recently worked with members of the House Appropriations Committee to include language in a nonbinding report accompanying a spending bill that urges the administration to extend the Vietnam monitoring program and expand it to include China.
The retail and importer groups objected strongly to the panel’s report, arguing that it could have “significant implications for trade.” The coalition said the language was inserted in the report without consultations with the industry and would set an “unjustified and harmful precedent” and would continue and expand an “ineffective and ill-conceived program.”
The letter was signed by the U.S. Association of Importers of Textiles & Apparel, the National Retail Federation, the Retail Industry Leaders Association and the American Apparel & Footwear Association.
“We are concerned that this is primarily intended to chill and micromanage trade by encouraging the movement of sourcing to other countries with no apparent gain to the United States,” the coalition said.
They also said the Vietnam monitoring program has not brought a single order or job back to the U.S.
“At a time when consumer prices are increasing, Congress should not force the hand of the next administration to spend valuable taxpayer resources on a program that will provide no real value to the domestic apparel industry,” the groups stated.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast