The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) has implemented an updated international trade policy to support its legislative agenda and guide day-to-day advocacy efforts.

At its semi-annual meeting of the board this week, the AAFA said the changes had been put in place to reflect the rapid pace of change in the US apparel and footwear industry.

The policy comprises four main principles: securing access to global markets and supply chains through the elimination or reduction of duties and other trade barriers; promoting best practices to ensure goods are produced in a socially responsible, safe, and sustainable manner; ensuring governments take the necessary steps to protect and enforce intellectual property rights; and fostering trade facilitation policies that support transparency, predictability, and harmonisation.

The AAFA also provided an update on the search for a new president and CEO following the departure of Kevin Burke in January. The association said it had enlisted executive search firm Spencer Stuart to assist the board in vetting qualified candidates.

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AAFA Board of Directors Implements New Trade Policy; Provides Update on CEO Search

Arlington, VA - The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) today announced the implementation of an updated international trade policy to support AAFA's ambitious legislative agenda and guide day-to-day advocacy efforts. AAFA also provided members with an update on the search for a new president and CEO. Both discussions were part of the semi-annual meeting of the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) Board of Directors.

"As the U.S. apparel and footwear industry continues to change at rapid pace, it is important for our trade policy to reflect current and future trends," said AAFA Board of Directors Chairman Philip C. Williamson, Chairman, President, and CEO of Williamson-Dickie Manufacturing Company. "The AAFA International Trade Policy serves as a foundational philosophy to guide AAFA policy positions as AAFA helps the U.S. apparel and footwear industry maintain its competitive edge in the global marketplace. It's essential to keep it updated so AAFA can quickly respond to new and emerging issues."

"The U.S. apparel and footwear industry is focused on providing the world's population, not just the five percent that live inside the United States, with affordable and stylish fashion," said AAFA Executive Vice President Steve Lamar. "As U.S. name brands grow in popularity around the world, it is important for AAFA to advocate for policy positions that support the continued growth of the industry both at home and abroad. We can achieve these goals by increasing market access, promoting social responsibility and environmental standards, protecting intellectual property, and fostering trade facilitation and harmonization."

The updated AAFA International Trade Policy was approved by a recent vote of the AAFA Board of Directors and is comprised for four main principles. Representing an industry that is on the frontlines of globalization and whose members depend on international trade for their competitiveness, AAFA will:

Secure access to global markets and global supply chains through the elimination or reduction of duties and other trade barriers.

Promote best practices to ensure that goods are produced in a socially responsible, safe, and sustainable manner.

Ensure that governments take the necessary steps to protect and enforce intellectual property rights.

Foster trade facilitation policies that support transparency, predictability, and harmonization.

To advance these goals, AAFA will pursue policies that integrate U.S. trade policies and programs and maximize the benefits they provide to members.

The previous iteration of the AAFA International Trade Policy was approved in 2002. Since then, the United States has negotiated and entered into 17 free trade agreements, enacted or expanded several trade preference programs, eliminated trade quotas, and seen several countries join the World Trade Organization. U.S. trade partners have also negotiated and entered into trade agreements with other countries. As a result, global business trends have significantly broadened. In addition, global value chains have emerged as economic growth engines by creating jobs for U.S. workers and offering consumers greater choice. Ensuring U.S. apparel and footwear companies are able to complete in the global market is necessary for their continued success.

In addition to announcing the updated international trade policy at the Board of Directors meeting, AAFA Board of Directors Chairman Philip Williamson provided the full board with an update on the search to name a new president and CEO to guide AAFA into the years ahead. In December, AAFA announced then-AAFA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke's intention to step down from his position in January 2014.

"With so many important industry issues under consideration in Washington, the AAFA Board of Directors is eager to identify and install a new president and CEO to lead AAFA," said Williamson. "Above all, continuity in AAFA's mission of being the most trusted and influential political voice of the industry is the top priority for AAFA during this transition period. I'm pleased the dedicated AAFA staff continues serving AAFA's members with great professionalism during this transition. We hope to name a new president and CEO as quickly as possible. The board has enlisted executive search firm Spencer Stuart to assist the board in vetting qualified candidates."

The semi-annual AAFA Board of Directors meeting was held before the start of the 2014 AAFA Annual Executive Summit at the Ritz-Carlton in Pentagon City, VA.

 

Original source: The American Apparel & Footwear Association