Apparel and Footwear Industry Thanks USTR for its Commitment to IP and Release of Annual Special 301 Report
April 26, 2023 | WASHINGTON, D.C.
The American Apparel & Footwear Association appreciates the dedication and commitment of the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to release the annual Special 301 Review report
. 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.
"As we celebrate World Intellectual Property Day, AAFA appreciates the constructive dialogue between USTR, AAFA, and our members to ensure that we protect the creative and innovative contributions of our members and other entrepreneurs around the world while simultaneously supporting American jobs. AAFA is a champion of American innovation and brand protection, consumer safety, worker safety, and responsible product manufacturing. The release of this report aligns with those important drivers of success and the process offers an opportunity to raise vital issues for our industry," said AAFA President and CEO Steve Lamar
"AAFA member products – apparel, footwear, and related goods – continually remain at the top of the counterfeit items seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) year after year. The sale of counterfeit clothes, shoes, and travel goods not only hurts U.S. companies, but the millions of American workers they employ. In many cases these goods are unsafe, causing harm to American consumers and their families. Further, counterfeit goods are also produced in potentially unsafe and environmentally unfriendly conditions, hurting the workers and communities that make them. We must work together to incentivize best practices for vetting sellers and goods, addressing repeat counterfeiter sellers, and ensuring consumers have access to relevant information at the time of purchase – and holding those accountable when actions don’t match policies," said Jennifer Hanks, AAFA Director, Brand Protection
. "USTR's report is key, as it 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. While this report is critical to shine a light on the issue, we need Congress to pass the SHOP Safe Act, which will hold those responsible for promoting and selling counterfeit products accountable.”
On January 31, 2023, AAFA submitted written comments
to USTR that nominated Bangladesh, China, and the European Union to the Special 301 Priority Watch List. In the January comments, AAFA highlighted several other trends - including 'Bad Faith Trademarks' and provided updates on additional countries.