Blog: Leonie BarrieTrump's trade ramifications continue to unravel

Leonie Barrie | 25 November 2016

Over the past week just-style has continued to try to unravel the potential ramifications of Donald Trump’s election as the next president of the United States.

For his supporters, Trump's soundbites resonate, but how they will be enacted is far from clear.

That said, the Obama administration appears to have conceded the landmark Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal will not be pushed through in the lame-duck session of Congress, as lawmakers instead prepare for the inauguration of the president-elect.

Trump's election is also putting Mexico and other Latin American nations on tenterhooks as they wait to see if he is true to his campaign pledges to reboot the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and impose tariffs of 35% on items produced in Mexico.

And global athletic brand New Balance is facing a backlash from customers threatening to boycott the brand after it appeared to back Trump's trade stance.

As political and economic uncertainties continue to weigh on global business sentiment, it’s not surprising that supply chain risk has risen for the fourth quarter in a row to its highest level since 2013.

Elsewhere, the latest estimates for average world cotton prices for the 2016/17 season have been upped slightly, amid forecasts of a further drop in world stocks fuelled by a sell-down of China's reserves.

And while it might seem an unlikely partnership, linking ethical practices and finance stands to deliver major benefits to all parties – as companies like Levi's and Puma already recognise.

While some brands are enjoying the benefits of 3D design and virtual prototyping tools, others are still struggling to find the best ways to leverage them into their businesses. One key to encouraging uptake is to ensure compatibility across all the software formats, so that data can be used across different systems in an open and collaborative environment.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh – already the world's second-largest apparel exporter – has the potential to become an export powerhouse at the level of its east Asian neighbours, a new report has found, if it improves its business competitiveness and trade regime.

The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh has also confirmed to just-style its members are in discussions over whether the group will extend its stay in the country after 2018 in order to complete its remediation work.

And US department store retailer Target Corp is stepping up its commitment to responsible sourcing with a pledge to improve worker well-being, achieve net-positive manufacturing, and derive key raw materials from ethical and sustainable sources by 2020.

Gildan Activewear has set out plans to acquire American Apparel in a deal worth US$66m, which was struck after the troubled US retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the second time in just over a year.

And US department store retailer Kohl's has launched a new line of "fashion-forward" products that will constantly change based on evolving trends, with the time from concept to delivery slashed to a matter of weeks.

Meanwhile, in other news, Gap Inc sales and revenue continued to fall in its third quarter; Garmon Chemicals has developed a new way of finishing denim by spraying enzymes onto garments within closed systems such as washing machines; and outdoor materials specialist WL Gore has opened a new hi-tech fabric testing facility.

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