WASHINGTON — A new report is recommending closer Congressional scrutiny of a Bush administration monitoring program for Vietnamese apparel imports.
The administration launched the initiative — opposed by importers and backed by domestic textile firms — in January to determine whether Vietnamese apparel imports are being dumped in the U.S. market for less than the cost of production or below the sale price in their home market.
The move came at the urging of textile-state elected officials and producers who contend that Vietnamese imports are subsidized by the government, putting U.S. producers at a competitive disadvantage now that quotas have been removed on Vietnam's imports.
In its first biannual review this year, the Commerce Department, which oversees the monitoring initiative, decided against launching an antidumping case, which could have led to punitive tariffs on apparel imports.
The new report by the Congressional Research Service, an arm of Congress, suggested seven areas that lawmakers might examine to determine whether the program is legal and viable. The 40-page analysis said Commerce's review "provided little resolution or clarity to a number of questions raised about the authority and the necessity of establishing such a monitoring program."
Importers were heartened by the agency's findings and suggestion that Congress could "revisit" the question of the Commerce's "legal authority" to establish the program. The agency also suggested that Congress could analyze importers' claims that the monitoring program has "stunted trade" with and investments in Vietnam.
"It definitely has things that bolster some of our main argument as far as the negative impact on trade [forcing importers to shift business to other countries due to the uncertainty] and the question about statutory authority," said Erik Autor, vice president and international trade counsel at the National Retail Federation. "It helps us make our case that the program should be scrapped."
A recommendation cited by the domestic textile industry said Congress could pass legislation "designed to counteract perceived unfair trade practices by Vietnam" in its apparel exports to the U.S. The report said Congress could pass legislation making it easier to initiate antidumping or countervailing duty cases involving nonmarket economies such as Vietnam and China.
"I think it raises the point that the government explicitly recognizes Vietnam as a large, state-owned and state-subsidized textile and apparel sector that distorts trade and harms domestic manufacturers," said Cass Johnson, president of the National Council of Textile Organizations.
Breaking News: @louisvuitton's men's artistic director @mrkimjones is leaving the French fashion house after nearly 7 years. Jones joined Louis Vuitton in 2011, following a three year tenure as creative director of British luxury goods brand Alfred Dunhill. Jones is to exit Louis Vuitton after showing his fall 2018 collection for the brand in Paris on Thursday. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews