The American Apparel & Footwear Association welcomed Senate approval of the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act to provide sorely needed stimulus in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and called for further action from the administration with regards to tariff relief.
“For the past few weeks, our members have been laser-focused on ensuring the health and safety of their workers and customers,” said Steve Lamar, president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association. “This is an unprecedented health crisis that has quickly become an unprecedented economic crisis. We are playing our part by having closed many of our facilities and, in some cases, converting production in the U.S. and abroad over to the manufacture and distribution of face masks, gowns, and other personal protective equipment. But in the short term, the revenue stream for many of our members and their supply chains has dried up. This legislation will inject liquidity into the system allowing companies to sustain operations, and keep employees on the payroll so they start up quickly once health authorities give us the all clear.
“Thanks to the Senate for taking swift action. We urge that this measure be quickly approved in the House and signed into law by President Trump.
“At the same time, the industry needs immediate action on tariff relief. Over the past 18 months, the U.S. has collected approximately $50 billion in punitive tariffs on textiles, apparel, footwear, travel goods, and many other inputs and finished items. These funds can quickly be released – using existing mechanisms and without further Congressional authorization – to companies who need them to survive. Moreover, just like we have come together in a bipartisan manner to delay income tax payments, we need to do the same regarding upcoming tariff payments. Temporarily deferring these future payments is critical to help companies preserve cash so they can survive this crisis.
“We urge the Administration to take action and provide important tariff relief now.”