Fashion’s Washington Agenda – WWD

With fashion struggling by means of supply shortfalls, crowded ports and provide chain troubles which were exasperated by COVID-19, the business’s Washington contingent has zeroed in on the mega infrastructure invoice working its manner by means of Congress. 

It’s a big-ticket merchandise that would deliver $16 billion to improve ports which are ill-equipped for at present’s bigger cargo ships and funnel different funds to bridges and roads in want of a refresh. 

That gained’t assist replenish the availability of pc elements or uncooked supplies which were disrupted by the pandemic, however the iron is sizzling now and lobbyists are doing what they will to assist make it simpler to maneuver items across the nation sooner or later. 

However not each problem has the advantage of bipartisan help and multibillion greenback plans of motion and — as normal — style’s agenda in Washington is broad.

Right here, a have a look at a number of the different matters and themes lobbyists are engaged on.


“COVID-19 continues to information the business’s priorities in Washington, and is more likely to stay on this position for the foreseeable future,” mentioned Stephen Lamar, chief government officer of the American Attire & Footwear Affiliation. “Whether or not that’s pursuing options to the delivery disaster that’s hampering our financial restoration, or advocating for the distribution of extra vaccines to guard our business’s employees.

“On the vaccine entrance, we’ve been very public about calling on the Biden administration to share our nation’s extra vaccine provide with associate international locations in our provide chain,” Lamar mentioned. “Whereas far more is required to be executed, we’ve been inspired by the administration’s actions so far and are persevering with to focus on the wants inside our associate international locations. On the similar time, we’re working with our companions in different international locations to make sure that business employees rapidly obtain vaccines and are in a position to safely stay at work, following relevant public well being steering — e.g., social distancing, masks — to assist maintain and help financial restoration.”


Whereas President Biden has averted the type of over-the-top geopolitical rhetoric of his predecessor, components of Donald Trump’s love of commerce wars have endured into the brand new administration — tariffs on Chinese language imports. 

“The fashion business is among the most closely taxed segments, by the use of tariffs,” mentioned Brian Dodge, president of the Retail Trade Leaders Affiliation. “The [Biden] administration is approaching China with a a lot totally different technique, one that’s extra diplomatic.”

However the Trump period tariffs linger. The common tariff on Chinese language imports to the U.S. stands at about 19 %, based on the Peterson Institute for Worldwide Economics. 

Dodge described the duties paid to permit items to enter the nation as “taxes paid by American shoppers,” since retailers have to soak up the prices and in the end move some portion of them alongside to customers. 

Because the Biden administration engages with China, tariffs might come again on the desk, and business lobbyists shall be pushing for reductions.  

Counterfeits/Organized Retail Crime

Retailers are additionally in search of some backup from Washington as they sq. off with on-line marketplaces, the place they are saying counterfeits and criminals are taking a chew out of their companies. 

RILA’s Dodge mentioned the Amazons and eBays of the world will not be correctly being held accountable for the products offered on their marketplaces. 

In some situations, retailers are getting hit twice, with organized gangs stealing items from their shops after which organising shop on-line. 

“You used to should promote stuff out of the trunk of your automobile, in a flea market, in a manner that might elevate the antenna of most trustworthy individuals,” mentioned Dodge, noting that items offered by means of on-line platforms can look legit to customers even when they’re stolen or pretend. 

RILA is supporting the INFORM Customers Act, which was launched within the Senate in March and would require marketplaces to get a verifiable identify and tackle for all sellers. 


One in all President Trump’s greatest legislative achievements was the 2017 tax reform package deal that lower the company tax charge to 21 % from 35 % — a charge that was thought of to be the best within the industrial world. 

Now with the federal government spending huge to help the financial system and planning to maintain spending — together with the trouble to replace the nation’s infrastructure — President Biden has proposed elevating the company tax charge again as much as 28 %.  

“That may be a 33 % enhance within the tax charge for the company tax payer,” famous David French senior vice chairman of presidency relations on the Nationwide Retail Federation. “Since retailers pay on the highest efficient charges within the financial system, the burden of that tax enhance can be felt most closely on these retail companies.” 

Private Protecting Gear

The textile business, which is so typically at odds with the importers, has its personal Beltway agenda. 

One huge merchandise for U.S. textile makers that has grown out of the pandemic is the push to rebuild a everlasting home provide chain for private protecting gear. 

Kim Glas, president and CEO of the Nationwide Council of Textile Organizations, mentioned: “The U.S. manufacturing business has produced over a billion lifesaving PPE and different medical merchandise during the last 12 months, as NCTO members retooled manufacturing chains in response to the nation’s wants. We should make sure that taxpayer {dollars} are utilized to bolster the federal buy of American-made PPE and our home industrial base at a time when PPE orders for our business have diminished.

“We are going to proceed to induce the federal government to undertake a home procurement regulation just like the Berry Modification to make sure the federal authorities prioritizes purchases of PPE and different textile based mostly medical provides which are made by one hundred pc U.S. labor from one hundred pc U.S. content material,” Glas mentioned.


Extra from WWD:

James Reinhart Is Looking to Go Bigger at ThredUp

Farfetch’s José Neves on Luxury’s Rebound, Palm Angels and More

Kohl’s CEO Touts Transformation | Trend’s Washington Agenda – WWD


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