The United States Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel (USA-ITA) was established in January 1989 by nine companies with a vision to create a unified voice for textile and apparel importers across the country. USA-ITA provides education, information, and advocacy to executives active in textile and apparel sourcing, importing, compliance, and logistics. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., USA-ITA represents the needs of American retailers, brands and importers, as well as related service providers, with the objective of removing barriers to business and to trade.
We moved our headquarters from New York to Washington, D.C., in January 2010, and since then, USA-ITA has enjoyed incredible growth and accomplishments. In the past year, USA-ITA has taken an active role in:
- Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Negotiations. USA-ITA leadership and members traveled to Dallas, San Diego, Leesburg, and Auckland, New Zealand, with the TPP Apparel Coalition. USA-ITA regularly meets with negotiators and stakeholders to ensure that the TPP agreement’s apparel provision will work for our industry. For more information on TPP, click here. For more information on our work on the TPP short-supply lists, click here.
- Center for Excellence & Expertise for the Industry. USA-ITA is part of the Industry Working Group for the CEE, which is providing recommendations to U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) on how the CEE should operate. We regularly meet with CBP officials at our Board of Directors meetings, annual conference, and other events to discuss our priorities for the CEE, and for textile enforcement more generally. For more information on our work on the CEE, click here.
- Sourcing in the Western Hemisphere, Including the United States. USA-ITA worked with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to organize the second Sourcing in the Americas event at SOURCING at MAGIC in Las Vegas in August 2012. We met with Commerce Under Secretary of International Trade Francisco Sánchez and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, as well as brands and manufacturers, to have a frank dialogue about opportunities and challenges to sourcing in the region, and particularly, the U.S. For more information on the event, click here.
- Human Rights & Sustainability. USA-ITA participates in coalitions to make policies that not only help our members, but also help make the world a better place. We have been outspoken on key corporate social responsibility issues including opposition to child labor in the Uzbekistan cotton industry, opposition to mulesing in Australia, and support for the expansion of labor rights and fire safety training in Bangladesh, to name a few. For more information on issues of importance to USA-ITA, click here.
- New Sourcing Opportunities. In addition to our advocacy work in support of new Free Trade Agreements, USA-ITA partners with textile and apparel organizations across the globe to find new sourcing opportunities for our members. This year, we worked with groups from Mexico, Egypt, India, China, and Southeast Asia, and participating in a number of international events including Prime Source Forum in Hong Kong, the Guatemala Apparel Sourcing Show, and INEXMODA in Colombia, to name a few.
- Professional Development for the Industry. USA-ITA is dedicated to helping our members learn and grow professionally. In 2012, we hosted seminars and events in New York, California, Nevada, and of course, Washington, D.C., as well as over a dozen webinars on topics ranging from challenges and solutions for sourcing and compliance in Bangladesh to how to address Argentina’s import restrictions to retailing in China. For more information on our events, click here.
It’s been an exciting few years for USA-ITA—and 2013 is off to an exciting start! Stay tuned!