From Washington

TGA Victory on Vietnam Tariffs…for Now

TGA Victory on Vietnam Tariffs…for Now

On January 15, the office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced that it is “not taking any specific actions in connection with the findings at this time” with respect to its Section 301 Tariff Investigation against Vietnam on currency, even though USTR found that Vietnam is manipulating its currency. TGA strongly opposed the imposition of tariffs in the USTR timber and currency investigations, testifying at USTR public hearings held on December 28 and December 29. There were concerns that outgoing President Trump would impose punitive tariffs on U.S. imports from Vietnam (as high as 25%) before he left office on Jan. 20, 2021. Note that USTR has not announced any decision in the Section 301 timber investigation. Vietnam is the #2 supplier of travel goods to the U.S. market. In the first eleven months of 2020, U.S. travel goods imports from Vietnam increased 12.3%, with Vietnam supplying 19.3% of all U.S. travel goods imports during that period.

REMINDER: Congress Allows GSP to Expire, Meaning Full Duties on U.S. Imports from GSP Countries Starting Jan. 1

REMINDER: Congress Allows GSP to Expire, Meaning Full Duties on U.S. Imports from GSP Countries Starting Jan. 1

On Dec. 21, Congress adjourned for the year without extending the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) trade preference program. As a result, GSP expired on Dec. 31, 2020, meaning that U.S. travel goods imports from a wide range of developing countries, including Thailand, Cambodia, Burma (Myanmar), Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Pakistan no longer enter the U.S. duty-free starting Jan. 1, 2021. In response, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued the following instructions, which enables importers to retain the right to collect refunds of duties paid if GSP is retroactively renewed. In the first eleven months of 2020, U.S. travel goods imports from GSP countries increased 10.7%, supplying 15.0% of all U.S. travel goods imports during that period. TGA urges you to write your members of Congress to urge them to retroactively renew GSP as soon as possible. It only takes a couple of minutes.

U.S. Travel Goods Imports Continued to Fall in First Eleven Months of 2020, Led by Declines in Imports from China

U.S. Travel Goods Imports Continued to Fall in First Eleven Months of 2020, Led by Declines in Imports from China

On January 7, the U.S. government published import data for November 2020. U.S. travel goods imports (as described under HTS Heading 4202 – click links to get specific import data on luggagebackpacks, flatgoods, handbags, business cases/laptop bags, and travel bags) slid 22.8% (by volume) in the first eleven months of 2020. In addition to the obvious impact of COVID-19 on the industry, the latest import numbers show the accelerating trend away from China. In the first eleven months of 2020, U.S. travel goods imports from China fell 35.4%, with China accounting for only 57.6% of total U.S. travel goods imports. For comparison, in 2016, China accounted for 84.7% of all U.S. travel goods imports. Meanwhile, despite the pandemic, U.S. travel goods imports from #2 supplier Vietnam (12.3%), #3 Cambodia (9.3%), and #4 Burma (Myanmar) surged in the first eleven months of 2020. In fact, U.S. travel goods imports from Vietnam now account for 19.3% of all U.S. travel goods imports, followed by #3 Cambodia (7.2%), #4 Burma (Myanmar) (3.9%), #5 India (3.4%), and #6 Indonesia (1.4%). U.S. imports of travel goods account for approximately 99% of the U.S. travel goods market.

U.S. Travel Goods Industry Faces More California Prop 65 Notices; TGA Prop 65 Best Practices Guidance

U.S. Travel Goods Industry Faces More California Prop 65 Notices; TGA Prop 65 Best Practices Guidance

December 24, 2020 – Over the last few months, dozens of new California Proposition 65 (Prop 65) "60-day" notices have been issued alleging that brands and retailers sold luggage (Notice 1), totes (Notice 1, Notice 2, Notice 3, Notice 4, Notice 5, Notice 6), backpacks (Notice 1, Notice 2, Notice 3, Notice 4, Notice 5, Notice 6, Notice 7, Notice 8, Notice 9, Notice 10, Notice 11), briefcases (Notice 1), duffel bags (Notice 1), luggage tags (Notice 1, Notice 2, Notice 3), crossbody bags (Notice 1, Notice 2, Notice 3, Notice 4, Notice 5, Notice 6, Notice 7), passport/ID/card holders (Notice 1, Notice 2, Notice 3, Notice 4, Notice 5), handbags (Notice 1, Notice 2, Notice 3, Notice 4, Notice 5, Notice 6, Notice 7, Notice 8, Notice 9), wallets (Notice 1, Notice 2, Notice 3, Notice 4, Notice 5, Notice 6, Notice 7, Notice 8, Notice 9, Notice 10), cosmetic/toiletry bags (Notice 1, Notice 2, Notice 3, Notice 4, Notice 5, Notice 6, Notice 7, Notice 8, Notice 9, Notice 10, Notice 11, Notice 12, Notice 13, Notice 14), travel/garment cases/carry bags (Notice 1, Notice 2, Notice 3), phone/tablet cases/holders/sleeves/dry bags (Notice 1, Notice 2, Notice 3, Notice 4, Notice 5, Notice 6, Notice 7, Notice 8, Notice 9, Notice 10, Notice 11, Notice 12, Notice 13, Notice 14, Notice 15), fanny packs (Notice 1, Notice 2, Notice 3, Notice 4), and travel bottles/kits (Notice 1, Notice 2, Notice 3, Notice 4, Notice 5, Notice 6), in California that contained di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), Bisphenol A (BPA), and/or diisononyl phthalate (DINP) in violation of a California law known as Proposition 65 (Prop 65). The notices serve as intent to bring lawsuits against those companies that made and sold these products. Check out TGA’s member-only California Proposition 65 (Prop 65) Best Practices Guidance on the Prop 65 page on the TGA website at https://travel-goods.org. This member-only guidance details best practices in developing your company’s Prop 65 testing and warning label protocol, including recommendations on which warning label text to use, where to place the warning label text, and how to test for Prop 65 listed chemicals in your products. For more information on Prop 65, please contact TGA’s Nate Herman, nate@travel-goods.org, 202-853-9351.