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 to remove 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 Ho Chi Minh City, Chicago, and Lima with the TPP Apparel Coalition. USA-ITA regularly meets with negotiators and stakeholders to ensure that the TPP agreement will work for our industry. For more information on TPP, click here.
- Strategies for Textile Enforcement. USA-ITA participated in a U.S. Customs & Border Protection Trade Day. USA-ITA President Julia K. Hughes and USA-ITA members met with U.S. Customs & Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin to discuss how CBP can focus its textile enforcement strategy and still offer improved benefits to USA-ITA member companies who follow the rules.
- Sourcing in the Western Hemisphere. USA-ITA worked with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to create and organize the Sourcing in the Americas Summit at MAGIC in Las Vegas in August 2011. MAGIC is the largest textile and apparel trade show in the United States. This year, MAGIC featured an Americas Pavilion highlighting producers in the Western Hemisphere, including USA-ITA members. The highlight of the event was engaging our members and the broader industry in discussions with Francisco Sanchez, Under Secretary of International Trade at the U.S. Department of Commerce. Sanchez spoke at MAGIC during a panel discussion with over 200 attendees as well as an intimate lunch with USA-ITA member executives. For a recap of MAGIC and the Sourcing in the Americas Summit, 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 in Bangladesh, to name a few. For more information on issues of importance to USA-ITA, click here.
- New Sourcing Opportunities. In addition to promoting sourcing in the Americas, USA-ITA partners with textile and apparel organizations across the globe to find new sourcing opportunities for our members. In 2011, we worked with the Mexican textile and apparel associations (Mexico Fits), the Source ASEAN Full-Service Alliance (SAFSA) in Southeast Asia, and the Inter-American Development Bank, who is building a CAFTA-DR sourcing database. USA-ITA frequently participates in international events, such as the Prime Source Forum in Hong Kong.
- Professional Development for the Industry. USA-ITA is dedicated to helping our members learn and grow professionally. In 2011, we hosted seminars and events in New York, California, Nevada, and of course, Washington, D.C., on topics ranging from the broad, like customs and the political climate, to the specific, like textile outsoles and Qualified Industrial Zones in Egypt and Jordan. For more information on our events, click here.
It’s been an exciting few years for USA-ITA and we’re ready for 2012 and beyond.