WASHINGTON — U.S. trade officials notified Cambodia on Tuesday that it will increase by 12 percent the amount of quota-controlled apparel it will be allowed to ship to the U.S. next year.
The increase was tied to U.S. officials deciding Cambodia has improved its worker standards this year. Under a U.S textile agreement with Cambodia, imports could have been increased up to 18 percent.
U.S. apparel importers, while glad the increase was granted, said it comes too late.
"By now, people will have placed their 2003 orders," said Julia Hughes, vice president of international trade with the U.S. Association of Importers of Textiles & Apparel.
Hughes noted that growth in Cambodian apparel imports into the U.S. has been in non-quota apparel, like cotton nightwear and pajamas. Although Cambodia supplies just 2.4 percent of all apparel imported into the U.S., it’s the largest supplier of cotton nightwear and pajamas with almost 16 percent of the import market, according to Commerce Department statistics.
The domestic textile industry also criticized U.S. officials on Cambodia, but for granting any increase, and questioned how worker conditions there were measured.
"It’s one of the great snooker jobs of all time," said Charles Bremer, director of international trade at the American Textile Manufacturers Institute.
Cambodia’s apparel pact with the U.S. is unique because it ties labor standards to greater U.S. market access, instead of automatic increases, and was seen as a potential model for future pacts.
Cambodia’s textile agreement, negotiated in 1999 by the Clinton administration, expires at the end of 2004. Last year, Cambodia was granted a 9 percent increase out of a potential 14 percent gain. About half of the apparel categories shipped to the U.S. from Cambodia are restricted by quota. Cambodia has never been granted the full quota increase.
Jim Leonard, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Textiles & Apparel at Commerce, said federal officials from agencies comprising the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements weighed various reports about the country’s labor market before increasing the quota limit.
"The feeling among CITA members is Cambodia is making progress," said Leonard. "We weren’t prepared to [award] the full amount because they have a long way to go yet."Leonard declined to say whether the Bush administration would include a labor standard test in a Vietnam apparel-limiting pact. Negotiations with Vietnam should start in the next couple of months, Leonard noted.
“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
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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