Of all of the office views in Washington, mine has to be the best. From my desk, I can see the entire DC skyline, including every major landmark like the Watergate Hotel, the Washington Monument, and the Capitol Building off in the distance. This blog is a play off the views I have from my desk. Join me as I provide real-time updates on major happenings from Washington that have a direct impact on the U.S. apparel and footwear industry.
Happy Double Tax Day
, Global Markets
, International Trade
, Consumer Trends
, Trans-Pacific Partnership
, Trade Policy
, Free Trade Agreements
Apr 17, 2012
In case you missed it, today is Tax Day. People all around the country (and even some on staff here at AAFA) are busy crunching numbers to fill in their 1040 form ahead of tonight’s deadline.
If you stop by the mall on your way to or from the post office or jump on your favorite store’s Web site after e-filing, and purchase a shirt, a pair of shorts, or new sandals for the summer with your anticipated return, today is Double Tax Day for you.
You see, 98 percent of the clothing and 99 percent of the shoes sold in the United States are imported. And often, those imports are charged a duty, or a tax paid to the government to allow that product to enter into the United States. For every American who wears clothes and shoes, you are paying extra taxes to the government and you may not even realize it. In fact, while apparel and footwear imports account for only less than five percent of total U.S. imports, clothes and shoes account for more than 40 percent of total duties collected by the U.S. government. And these duties amount to a $30 billion tax at the cash register every year for hardworking American families.
In reality, there is no way for hardworking American families to avoid these taxes, unless that garment or that pair of shoes came from a country that has an existing free trade agreement with the United States that offers duty-free access. To date, the United States has 18 free trade agreements in force, and the Obama Administration recently announced that the long-pending free trade agreement with Colombia will enter into force on May 15, 2012.
This news was welcomed by AAFA because Colombia continues to emerge as a promising sourcing partner for our industry. But, as our industry continues to plan for 2012 and beyond, adding more trade partners is critical. We’re excited about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). With so many opportunities to drive our industry forward, like incorporating flexible and commercially meaningful rules of origin into the TPP, we continue to educate the Obama Administration and our TPP partners on what it takes to negotiate a TPP agreement that keeps our industry’s nearly four million U.S. workers competitive in the global marketplace.
At the same time, we are keeping our eyes open for additional opportunities for future growth because we believe a robust trade policy helps support U.S. jobs, builds a stronger U.S. economy, and drives U.S. prosperity.