The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) has criticised the collapse of a multilateral trade agreement aimed at streamlining customs procedures worldwide by cutting red tape and speeding up port clearances. World Trade Organization members failed to reach agreement on the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) at a meeting in Geneva July 31.
AAFA says apparel and footwear are some of the most heavily traded consumer goods on the planet and that the failure in Geneva may dramatically damage the WTO. It goes to the extent of saying everybody who wears clothes and shoes will be adversely affected if the TFA is allowed to die.
The TFA, part of a wider package, which was hammered out during a four-day WTO ministerial conference in Indonesia in December, had been hailed as marking a major milestone in global trade. For the apparel industry, on the frontlines of globalisation with a retail value of over $1.3 trillion and a complex worldwide supply chain, the benefits of a deal were seen as especially significant.
AAFA feels failure to conclude the TFA deal removes $1trillion from the world economy and that the clothing and shoe industry requires sophisticated global supply chains so that today’s fashions make their way to consumers all over the world.