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.
“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