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.
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty