WASHINGTON — The Senate passed legislation granting permanent normal trade relations to Russia on Thursday, which will give U.S. retailers and brands broader access to Russia’s market.
The Senate passed the bill, which also extends PNTR to Moldova, on a 92-4 vote. President Obama has said he will sign the legislation.
“The Senate’s historic bipartisan vote today moves us closer to having our trade with Russia covered by the rules of the World Trade Organization,” said U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk. “As a result, American businesses and workers will have better access to the growing Russian market on the same terms as their global competitors, and the United States will have WTO procedures available to help ensure that Russia abides by its commitments. We are eager for America’s businesses and workers to begin to reap the benefits of applying the WTO rules and procedures to our bilateral trade.”
Concerns over human rights abuses stalled the legislation from advancing in Congress, but lawmakers ended up supporting the bill after a measure was added that penalizes Russian officials who were responsible for the beating death in 2009 of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian tax attorney.
The House had previously approved the measure and once the bill is signed into law, U.S. retailers and apparel brands stand to gain from Russia entering a global rules-bases system and its commitments to lower tariffs on imports and easing of direct investment opportunities. Under the terms of its WTO accession package, Russia agreed to reduce tariffs on some women’s and men’s apparel imports to 15 percent from 20 percent by 2015 and tariffs on textile materials, such as synthetic yarns or cotton fabrics, will be reduced to 8 percent from 10 percent by 2014.
Russia also agreed in its bilateral market access agreement with the U.S. in 2006 to allow foreign distributors to operate as 100 percent foreign-owned enterprises upon its entry into the WTO. The bilateral pact will also allow U.S. distributors to sell most products with “minimal limitations” and provides for direct sales by individual commission agents.
“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