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AAFA Newsbreaker
April 14, 2009
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In this issue...
Legislative, Trade & Regulatory News
  • Retailers and Companies Hit With California Proposition 65 Notices
  • CPSC Issues Two Recalls on Footwear
  • 14 Firms Agree to Pay Civil Penalties for Failing to Report Drawstrings in Children's Outerwear
  • Business Community Urges Obama to Resolve Mexico Truck Issue
  • USDA Proposes Raising Cotton Fee
  • Retail Sales Slide in February
  • US Apparel and Footwear Imports Down Markedly During Jan-Feb
    AAFA Member News
  • LT Apparel Group Joins AAFA
  • FedEx Ranked Among Top Ten on FORTUNE’s List
    In the Press
  • Editorial: Getting the Lead Out
  • Topic A: Card Check
  • U.S. Captain’s Rescue Raises Stakes in Piracy Ops
  • Hot Contest Over Card Check Continues
  • Legislative, Trade & Regulatory News

    As some of you know, Proposition 65 is a California law that requires "warning labels" on ALL products (not just children's products) that contain lead, phthalates and other chemicals that, in excess of certain levels, could cause cancer or reproductive toxicity. Prop 65 also allows so-called "citizen enforcers" to enforce the law. NGOs, other groups and even private Californian citizens can sue in California courts and collect part of the fines. On April 8, the Oakland, CA-based Center for Environmental Health (CEH) issued "60 day warning notices" announcing their intent to sue 41 retailers and brand names, including many major retailers and brands, due to high levels of lead the CEH said they found in vinyl and faux leather women's handbags, purses and wallets. Judging by the pictures and descriptions, these handbags were not children's products. (Rebecca Mond)

    The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued two voluntary recalls for footwear on April 10. The first recall involved for 200,000 pairs of women's shoes sold at Wal-Mart from June 2008 until December 2008. The shoes pose a fall hazard to consumers. There have been no injuries reported in conjunction with this recall. The CPSC also issued a recall for about 73,000 "CARS" children's shoes. The shoes were sold at Wal-Mart from September 2008 through March 2009. Parts of the shoes can detach and pose a choking hazard to young children. There have also been no reports of injuries associated with this recall. (Rebecca Mond)

    The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced April 7 that 14 firms agreed to pay $1,055,000 in civil penalties for failing to report drawstrings in the hoods of children's upper outerwear. (Rebecca Mond)

    Product Showcase:
    STR Apparel & Footwear Testing

    Substantiating the quality, safety and responsible sourcing of apparel and footwear. STR delivers comprehensive services for the apparel & footwear industry including physical, chemical, biomechanical and field testing, flammability, fiber content, colorfastness, dimensional stability, strength, performance, construction, aging, care label verification, and fiber identification and analysis. Our responsible sourcing audits and training services are internationally recognized and offer a thorough and objective analysis of labor conditions at factories. Starting right at the source, we work with our clients to secure quality, conformity and social responsibility of products at every stage of manufacture. More info

    AAFA joined 140 other companies and organizations representing a broad swath of the US business and agricultural community in sending an April 7 letter urging President Barack Obama to quickly resolve the ongoing Mexico trucking dispute. Congress ended a pilot program that allowed a limited number of Mexican trucks, after meeting rigorous safety standards, to enter the United States. With the termination of the pilot program, a program required under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Mexico immediately retaliated by imposing punitive duties on Mexican imports of $2.4 billion worth of US products, including some fibers. (Kurt Courtney)

    The US Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has proposed raising the cotton fee on US cotton and cotton apparel imports to fund AMS' Cotton Research and Promotion Program. Comments on the proposed fee increase are due May 11. (Nate Herman)

    Lectra, the #1 technology provider to the fashion industry offers complete, integrated solutions that automate, streamline, and accelerate product design, development, and manufacturing. Lectra Fashion PLM allows you to truly manage your collection and product lifecycles. Sharing an integrated fashion platform, the Kaledo suite simplifies the design development process while encouraging creativity.


    According to the US Census Bureau's April 14 release of March Advance Monthly Sales, seasonally adjusted retail sales at US clothing and clothing accessories stores, including shoe stores, followed a month-on-month increase of 2.8 percent in February with a drop of 1.8 percent in March. Those sales were 5.1 percent lower than in March 2008. March seasonally adjusted retail sales at US department stores decreased 0.3 percent from the previous month and were 5.5 percent lower than in March 2008. Seasonally adjusted retail sales at all US general merchandise stores (which includes discount stores like Kohl's, Target and Wal-Mart as well as regular department stores) edged down 0.2 percent in March but were 1.3 percent higher than in March 2008. Overall retail sales fell an unexpected 1.1 percent in March from the previous month and were 9.4 percent below March 2008 sales. (Nate Herman)

    The law firm of Steptoe & Johnson LLP invites you to subscribe to our free newsletters: Customs Law Advisory, Apparel Industry Alert, and Upcoming Events. These periodic newsletters provide legal insight that may be crucial to your business. Subscribe today

    US apparel imports (actual data) declined 10.9 percent to 3.2 billion square meter equivalents (SME) in quantity terms and 11.4 percent to $10.2 billion in value terms during January-February 2009, compared to January-February 2008, while US footwear imports (actual data) slid 9.1 percent to 399.0 million pairs in quantity terms and 2.2 percent to $3.2 billion in terms of value. For a more detailed summary of the trade numbers, please go to AAFA's website. (Nate Herman)

    AAFA Member News

    LT Apparel Group
    Alfred J. Sutton
    100 W. 33rd St.. Suite 1012
    New York, NY 10001
    Phone: 212.502.6000

    LT Apparel Group, a family owned company since 1958, is a leading children's apparel importer. The LT Apparel Group Collection encompasses in-house brands, including Cotler, French Toast Baby, French Toast Fashion, Healthtex, Rim Rocka, Secret Crush and several key licensed brands, including Adidas, Lee School, Pelle Pelle and School Uniform brands @School, French Toast Official School wear, U2 Uniforms and University Club.

    This year FedEx has ranked #7 on FORTUNE magazine’s list of the U.S. and World’s Most Admired Companies. AAFA members are offered special savings on select FedEx® services via the AAFA Freight Savings Plan.* FORTUNE magazine also recognized FedEx as being first in eight of nine transportation industry category rankings: quality of products/services; innovation; financial soundness; long-term investment; global competitiveness; people management; use of corporate assets; quality of management. In the ‘Delivery’ sector, FedEx ranked #1 with an overall score of 7.56, ahead of UPS with an overall score of 7.39. To learn more about how you can save on select FedEx services, call Siriani & Associates at 800.554.0005 or e-mail.

    * For eligible FedEx services and rates, contact your freight savings program provider, Siriani & Associates. All FedEx® shipments are subject to the applicable FedEx Service Guide. FedEx service marks used by permission.

    In the Press

    Editorial: Getting the Lead Out
    from The Las Vegas Review-Journal
    Congress is far too busy creating all-new disasters to worry about one of the biggest ones left over from 2008. If lawmakers are serious about stopping further damage to the economy, however, they'll act quickly to clean up a lead-testing law that already is poisoning a number of industries with fatal amounts of regulation and uncertainty. More

    Topic A: Card Check
    from The Washington Post
    When Sens. Arlen Specter and Blanche Lincoln announced their opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act, some forecast the end of labor reform. The Washington Post asked lawmakers, labor leaders and others what's likely to happen. More

    U.S. Captain’s Rescue Raises Stakes in Piracy Ops
    from The Associated Press
    The killing of three Somali pirates in the dramatic U.S. Navy rescue of a cargo ship captain has sparked concern for other hostages and fears that the stakes have been raised for future hijackings in the busy Indian Ocean shipping lane. More

    Hot Contest Over Card Check Continues
    from Politico
    Legislators counting on poll numbers to help them make up their minds on the Employee Free Choice Act might find themselves banging their heads against the wall instead. More

    AAFA Events & Educational Programs

    April 21-23, 2009
    Material World

    April 22-25, 2009
    Information Systems Committee Spring Meeting

    April 22-25, 2009
    Product Innovation Council/Supply Chain Leadership Committee Meeting

    April 27-29, 2009
    RFID Live 2009

    April 29, 2009
    WEB SEMINAR: Environmental Marketing: Where Sustainability Meets Strategy

    Complete schedule of events

    AAFA Member Partners & Programs

    By AAFA partner,
    Boxwood Technology, Inc.
    Employer and employee
    job services.

    Freight Savings Plan
    By AAFA partner, Siriani & Associates, Inc.
    Save on shipping costs.

    Footwear Testing Services
    By AAFA partner, Intertek
    Expert resource and discount technical testing

    RFID Savings Program
    By AAFA partner, Avery Dennison
    Negotiated below-market priced labels

    XRF Analyzers
    By new AAFA partners,
    Innov-x and Thermo Scientific.
    Identification and quantification of toxic metals in products.

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    Ben Maitland, Director of Advertising Sales

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