Apparel and Footwear Industry Reiterates Importance of USTR’s 2022 Special 301 Report for Global IP Enforcement

April 27, 2022 | WASHINGTON, D.C.

Today, the American Apparel & Footwear Association praised the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) following the release of its annual Special 301 Review. The report identifies foreign countries that deny adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights or deny fair and equitable market access to U.S. entities that rely upon intellectual property protection. Apparel, footwear, travel goods, and related products are regularly found on official lists of counterfeit product seizures.

“Counterfeits are flourishing and endangering consumers and workers around the globe every day. In fact, AAFA members continue to report that the pandemic significantly hampers global enforcement efforts,” said Steve Lamar, president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association. “AAFA has appreciated the constructive dialogue with USTR to ensure that intellectual property protection and enforcement against counterfeit and pirated goods remain a top priority in America’s trade relationships to protect creativity and innovation and support jobs across the country. We thank USTR for considering the experiences of our members in this review process.”

“Our hope remains that countries will rededicate efforts and resources to protect American intellectual property rights,” adds AAFA’s Jennifer Hanks, Director, Brand Protection. “Many of the countries AAFA has identified in this submission are vital trading partners and the largest sources for the U.S. apparel and footwear industry in producing legitimate U.S.-branded goods. Thus, we must not disrupt legitimate trade; however, we must find ways to identify areas of needed improvement to protect American jobs and economic opportunity across our country, as AAFA members are in nearly every state.”

In January of this year, AAFA submitted written comments in January of this year as part of USTR’s review process for this report.