WASHINGTON — The U.S. is poised to impose quotas unilaterally on 41 apparel and textile categories from Vietnam and embargo swimwear imports as early as Friday if an agreement is not reached today.
In an advance copy of a government notice obtained by WWD, the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements said it would impose the quotas retroactively to Jan. 1 and immediately embargo imports of Vietnamese swimsuits, which already surpassed the proposed quota limits in the first two months of the year.
Meanwhile, the U.S. and Vietnam failed to sign a bilateral trade agreement Wednesday, despite having reached a tentative deal a week ago, said sources.
The U.S. is keeping its options open in filing the Federal Register’s notice, which is slated to run in the publication Friday, in anticipation that an agreement might not be reached today.
To pull the notice before it is published, the agency must make the request by noon today, according to a spokeswoman at the Federal Register’s office.
Vietnam would be hit a lot harder by the unilateral quotas than by a bilateral agreement.
The quotas are based on Vietnamese imports for the year ended November, which are a lot lower than levels in the bilateral proposed agreement. It was based on imports for the year ended February.
In addition, the unilateral quotas would be retroactive to Jan. 1, so apparel and textiles from Vietnam shipped from Jan. 1 through April 24 would be charged against the limits.
The proposed bilateral agreement would not impose quotas until May, according to sources.
Luggage and man-made fiber coats, which would not be subject to quotas in the proposed bilateral agreement, according to industry sources, would be subject to quotas if unilateral quotas are imposed.
The U.S. would set the quota limit for luggage at 4.3 million kilograms and the limit for man-made fiber coats at 991,745 dozen, according to CITA’s advance notice. Those limits also would be reduced by four months’ worth of imports.
The domestic textile industry and retail and import communities are anxiously awaiting an outcome to the tense negotiations.
The talks have taken many twists. Most recently, the news that the U.S. is investigating charges of illegal transshipments through Vietnam has thrown a wrench into the talks."I would prefer to see these unilaterals in place if for no other reason than to give our government time to do a thorough circumvention analysis to see what the degree of fraud is regarding these categories," said Augustine Tantillo, Washington coordinator at the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition. "That’s the best scenario at this point."
Julia Hughes, vice president of international trade at the U.S. Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel, criticized the way U.S. negotiators have handled the talks.
"We think it’s outrageous that while the Vietnamese are waiting to sign an agreement, CITA goes ahead and sends a notice that would immediately embargo one category and cut back others overnight," said Hughes. "Our companies remain concerned that CITA seems to be abrogating what had already been set in place with quotas scheduled to begin in just one week."
A spokesman at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said he had "no news" on the status of the negotiations or the notice to impose unilaterals.
“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