WASHINGTON – The American Apparel & Footwear Association, National Retail Federation, Retail Industry Leaders Association, and The United States Fashion Industry Association responded to today’s blanket Withhold Release Order (WRO) impacting all cotton and cotton products from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR):
The companies we represent remain outraged by the reports of forced labor in the XUAR – and reports that Uyghurs are being trafficked to other regions – and have long made eradicating forced labor in our supply chains a top operational and public policy priority.
Today’s announcement matches our members’ accelerated commitment in this region. The industry is pioneering and implementing new technologies and innovative approaches to decipher where supply chains are susceptible to forced labor, particularly as it relates to XUAR. We look forward to working with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to make sure enforcement is smart, transparent, targeted, and effective. We urge CBP to share with industry the evidence gathered, and the evidentiary thresholds used, that led to today’s announcement. Additionally, we ask CBP to share enforcement actions so that industry can further inform their due diligence and amplify and expand CBP’s enforcement efforts.
We look forward to working with the new Congress and new administration to build on today’s announcement by developing and implementing a holistic approach that provides all stakeholders a clear, effective, and enforceable path forward on reaching our shared goal – ending forced labor and the larger campaign of oppression it fuels.
About the American Apparel & Footwear Association
The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) is the national trade association representing apparel, footwear and other sewn products companies, and their suppliers, which compete in the global market. Representing more than 1,000 world famous name brands, we are the trusted public policy and political voice of the apparel and footwear industry, its management and shareholders, its nearly four million U.S. workers, and its contribution of more than $400 billion in annual U.S. retail sales. AAFA provides exclusive expertise in trade, brand protection, and supply chain & manufacturing to help our members navigate the complex regulatory environment and lower costs. Members gain unparalleled access to information and exclusive insights on regulation and policy, and premier opportunities for networking and collaboration.
The National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, passionately advocates for the people, brands, policies and ideas that help retail thrive. From its headquarters in Washington, D.C., NRF empowers the industry that powers the economy. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, contributing $3.9 trillion to annual GDP and supporting one in four U.S. jobs — 52 million working Americans. For over a century, NRF has been a voice for every retailer and every retail job, educating, inspiring and communicating the powerful impact retail has on local communities and global economies.
RILA is the US trade association for leading retailers. We convene decision-makers, advocate for the industry, and promote operational excellence and innovation. Our aim is to elevate a dynamic industry by transforming the environment in which retailers operate. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs, and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities, and distribution centers domestically and abroad.
About the United States Fashion Industry Association
The United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) is dedicated to fashion made possible by global trade. USFIA represents brands, retailers, importers, and wholesalers based in the United States and doing business globally. Founded in 1989, USFIA works to eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers that impede the fashion industry’s ability to trade freely and create jobs in the United States.
Headquartered in Washington, D.C., USFIA is the voice of the fashion industry in front of the U.S. government as well as international governments and stakeholders. With constant, two-way communication, USFIA staff and counsel serve as the eyes and ears of our members in Washington and around the world, enabling them to stay ahead of the regulatory challenges of today and tomorrow. Through our publications, educational events, and networking opportunities, USFIA also connects with key stakeholders across the value chain including U.S. and international service providers, suppliers, and industry groups.