Blog: Leonie BarrieTrump trade war may hit garment prices

Leonie Barrie | 30 July 2018

With US president Donald Trump now threatening to impose tariffs on all US$500bn of goods imported from China, the upcoming trade war will undoubtedly hit garments. But replacing China means replacing around 42% of all US apparel imports – and is likely to have an inflationary impact on FOB prices.

The Trump administration has also sought to buy votes and silence farmers by offering them $12bn to stop complaining about lost business due to tariffs. But while those in the US apparel and footwear industry can empathise with their predicament, the difference is that the US government won't bail us out, writes Rick Helfenbein, AAFA president and CEO.

The American apparel and footwear sector has, however, welcomed news that the US and the European Union are to hold talks to "work toward zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers, and zero subsidies" in a bid to strengthen the trade relationship between the two regions.

But the European Commission has warned of disruption to supply chains whether or not a deal is reached on the UK's withdrawal from the EU – amid mounting concerns of a deadlock in the Brexit talks with just three months to go before a provisional October deadline.

To tie in with the launch of re:source, the new online strategic planning tool from the team behind just-style, we have published the first in a monthly round-up of updates to key free trade agreements and trade preference programmes involving the US, EU and Japan.

Despite ongoing fears of an escalation in trade conflict between the US and China, the latest data shows demand for quality inspection and supplier audits in the manufacturing giant are still on the rise. What is also apparent is that China's factories are lagging behind the rest of Asia in terms of environmental compliance.

New guidance has also been released to help companies include more people with disabilities in global supply chains. Employing people with disabilities brings benefits including access to untapped talent, enhanced productivity, loyalty and reliability.

The importance of digital technologies in retail, footwear and apparel product development continues to grow each year – but few companies have yet figured out how to unlock its true value. The biggest advances remain in 3D digital product creation and advanced analytics.

And a new $50m denim mill that will produce yarns and fabrics for the North American market with a focus on sustainability and innovative technology is preparing to ramp up its operations ahead of full commercial production at the beginning of next year.

just-style's 2018 'Global market review of lingerie – forecasts to 2023' is the first to use data from re:source. Here we take a look at the global sourcing position, growing and declining exporter countries, the global market position, and growing and declining markets.

Meanwhile in other news, Lululemon has tapped a former Sears Canada boss as its new CEO; Cotton Incorporated has launched an anti-wrinkle and formaldehyde-free technology that gives a durable press finish on cotton fabrics; and knitwear giant Cobalt Fashion Holding has opened an innovation lab at its headquarters in Hong Kong.

ANALYSIS

China and changing consumer top of mind for US apparel execs

Taking the theme 'Demand and Deliver,' this year's annual American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) conference mulled American trade policy, along with finding creative ways to thrive amid an eve...

BLOG

The price of US imports from China continues to fall

Despite concerns about sourcing from China amid an intensifying trade war with the US, newly-published figures show China continues to dominate US apparel imports – with import volume rising and price...

BLOG

Outlook for UK retailers looks bleak

The outlook for UK retailers continues to look bleak. UK department store John Lewis blamed a "challenging" retail backdrop for a more than 45% drop in full-year profits to GBP160m. It was a similar s...

BLOG

British MPs call for laws to tackle fast fashion

The UK government is being urged to introduce legislation that requires fashion brands and retailers to perform due diligence checks across their supply chains and take more responsibility for the env...

BLOG

How Levi Strauss is driving sustainable change

The denim and jeans sector is having to work tirelessly to change perceptions over its sustainability, or lack of it. But change is nigh, promises Michael Kobori, vice president of social and environm...

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