Blog: Michelle RussellTrump moves forward with trade threats

Michelle Russell | 26 September 2018

US President Donald Trump has decided to move forward with a 10% tariff on an additional US$200bn worth of goods from China, in a move the US fashion industry says will considerably disrupt the sector's supply chain. The tariffs will take effect today (24 September) and will be set at a level of 10% until the end of the year. On 1 January 2019, the tariffs will rise to 25%.

China, however, has responded with tariffs on $60bn of US goods. The Office of the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council said the 5%-10% tariffs will apply to 5,207 items, also taking effect from today.

A reluctance by Africa's clothing and textile industries to adopt new technology has not only slowed growth in the sector, but is also potentially pushing companies towards stagnation, an international conference has heard.

But while Sub-Saharan Africa, in particular, may not have been the most fertile ground for technological innovation in the clothing, textile and fibre sectors, speakers at the International Textile Manufacturers Federation (ITMF) conference in Nairobi, Kenya had no shortage of ideas on the best way ahead.

One year into his role as head of circular fashion at the C&A Foundation, Douwe Jan Joustra is leading discussions on how to create the conditions for change in the entire fashion system. His main aim is to see retailers adopt new business models, transitioning into "service providers" where fashion will be offered as a service for customers, not consumers – an idea he will share at next month's IAF World Fashion Convention.

Month-by-month the US Department of Commerce's Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA) releases US garment import data. But does one month's information really provide garment professionals with a greater understanding of the industry and the direction in which it is heading? 

three-year project taking place in Myanmar's garment industry to enhance productivity and improve workplace health and safety is generating great interest, organisers have told just-style, and feeds into a wider goal of improving productivity by 25% over the next ten years.

The country has also agreed its first Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP), which will work to promote employment, protect labour rights, improve safety at work and strengthen social dialogue in the country.

Meanwhile, an ambitious programme has been launched to empower women in global supply chains, with garment and textile industry workers a focus for projects in India and Bangladesh. Launched by Amfori and drawing on the UN Agenda for Sustainable Development and on its own Vision 2030, the Women's Empowerment Programme embodies three specific projects in the group's three biggest sourcing countries – China, India and Bangladesh.

Also in Bangladesh, a group of 153 investors representing $2.8 trillion in assets has warned against the premature termination of the Bangladesh Accord for Fire and Building Safety – saying that lingering risks in the country's garment factories threaten workers, brands and investors.

In other news…Primark has expanded its sustainable cotton programme to Pakistan; New Zealand has banned the controversial practice of mulesing; Gap has launched a sustainable men's lifestyle brand; and Crystal International has set out new sustainability targets.

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