WASHINGTON – Our member companies have long maintained policies and compliance programs that seek to prevent, identify, and mitigate instances of forced labor. As an industry representing thousands of brands and retailers, ensuring that forced labor does not exist in our supply chains is a key priority.
Following today’s launch of the NGO Call to Action, the recent publication of several new reports, the signing into law of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, and the release of a business advisory by the U.S. State, Treasury, Homeland Security, and Commerce Departments regarding supply chain risk in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), we want to reiterate our continued focus on identifying and eradicating forced labor. A successful solution for all involved, above all the workers themselves, will require state-to-state engagement and collaborative partnerships across government, industry, labor advocacy groups, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders. We again urge our nation’s leaders to immediately establish a multi-stakeholder working group to develop and deploy a collective approach that accurately assesses the problem, identifies constructive solutions to increase transparency, and protects both the rights of workers and the integrity of global supply chains.
Following the publication of early reports, in alignment with our zero tolerance for forced labor, our associations and others joined forces as part of a multi-industry program to use our collective efforts to address the situation. Building on work the associations and member brands had already done separately, we have spent the last eight months working together to address due diligence challenges and opportunities.
Since coming together, we have implemented a broad-based effort, convening with a wide variety of stakeholders, including NGOs, labor groups, and policy makers in all branches of government. In these meetings, we have highlighted public reporting on the region, shared our industry’s decades of work on due diligence and remedy, reiterated our zero tolerance approach to forced labor, and called for unified action by relevant stakeholders to find the best way forward.
We are and will continue to be committed to working with all key stakeholders on this critically important human rights issue.
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.
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.
About the Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America
Representing over 90% of the entire footwear industry, FDRA is the industry’s business and trade association. Its members include the majority of U.S. footwear manufacturers, brands, retailers and importers to global footwear companies.
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.