Blog: Michelle RussellConcern mounts over Trump's trade policies

Michelle Russell | 16 April 2018

Since President Donald Trump took office in January 2017, his administration has been busy fulfilling major campaign promises on trade policy – much to the concern of US fashion brands and apparel retailers. To keep abreast of developments, Dr Sheng Lu, assistant professor in the Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies at the University of Delaware, has compiled a timeline of all the key milestones

February is historically the slowest month when it comes to US apparel imports, and this year was no exception – with a lull as retailers prepared to replenish stocks for the spring season and factories in Asia shut down for the Lunar New Year.

But while imports at major US retail container ports are expected to rise by 5.8% year-on-year in April, growth could be threatened in the future if the developing trade war between the United States and China continues to escalate.

Garment exporters in developing countries are being actively encouraged to seek European orders through various trade agreements, government policies and foreign assistance. But there is also frustration that successful export countries continue to enjoy preferential treatment.

As the fifth anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster nears, the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety says it is making progress towards a collective agreement on worker safety with member brands ready and willing to partner with the government to establish a new locally-led safety organisation.

The Bangladesh Accord, meanwhile, has reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring fire and building safety in the country's ready-made garment factories amid reports the High Court has instructed the Government not to extend the body's jurisdiction beyond 31 May.

While a joint platform has launched aimed at helping trade unions build capacity in Bangladesh's readymade garment industry and provide better services to its members.

number of recommendations have been set out for the International Labour Organization (ILO) ahead of a meeting to devise a standard for the prevention of violence against men and women working in the global garment supply chain.

In retail, ailing UK mother, baby and children's goods retailer Mothercare is considering closing a chunk of loss-making stores to battle challenging high street conditions amid a drop in fourth-quarter sales on the back of declining footfall. While women's footwear and accessories business Nine West Holdings has filed for bankruptcy and will sell its namesake and Bandolino footwear and handbag business to Authentic Brands Group.

Blockchain is the big buzzword in business circles at the moment, and a string of blockchains is evolving to disrupt the sourcing and retail landscape. But what is blockchain, how do these chains work and can they really revolutionise the fashion industry?

In other news, Nike acquires fashion technology firm Invertex; Unifi looks to shorten lead times with the acquisition of National Spinning; Oeko-Tex launches GMO test for organic cotton; House of Fraser owner Sanpower has unveiled a new supply chain initiative to sell Chinese brands throughout the retailer’s stores; and H&M has come under fire over living wage claims.

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