Another week, little change in what’s causing uncertainty in the apparel industry.
Parliament returns from its recess and will likely begin discussions regarding the U.K.’s Brexit policy, although it gets a little breathing room now that the deadline has been extended to October. And in the U.S., Congress, too, has been in recess for the Easter break, although that hasn’t stopped President Donald Trump from tweeting that “Democrats” must return from their vacations in order to deal with the southern border.
Border Wall: According to the Trump Administration, the surge in illegal crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border has now turned into a “crisis.” Trump earlier this week tweeted: “Democrats in Congress must return from their Vacations and change the Immigration Laws, or the Border, despite the great job being done by Border Patrol, will only get worse. Big sections of Wall now being built!”
Along with what has turned into a border security matter is also a humanitarian crisis. Earlier in the week, Attorney General William P. Barr issued an order that sends a message to migrants that anyone seeking asylum in the U.S. could be detained in jail indefinitely until their petition is heard. The order, which goes into effect in 90 days, is the latest attempt by the Trump Administration to curtail the number of people seeking asylum in the U.S.. It also changes the existing policy of allowing asylum seekers to request a bond hearing that allows them to be released on bail while they wait for their case to be heard.
While the order is likely to be contested in the federal court system, it also doesn’t address the real crisis at the southern border, which centers on the number of families seeking asylum in the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is limited in its ability to keep immigrant families with children under detention to just a few weeks.
And as for the new walls Trump says are being built, the U.S.-Mexico border along San Diego is testing a double-fencing structure prototype along a stretch of 14 miles. The new structure is about 30-feet high, versus the existing six-foot single wall version that’s been in place along other sections of the border. The double fencing includes for a stretch of space between the first and second walls to allow for border patrol by agents.
The National Retail Federation earlier this month in a letter to U.S. government officials, cautioned that closure of the southern border would have a severe impact on U.S. retailers, workers and consumers.
New tariffs, maybe: Following a list of $12 billion worth of products that the U.S. has targeted for possible tariffs from the European Union member countries, the EU has fine-tuned its list of $20 billion in U.S. imports, including handbags, that could get the same treatment. The latest is an escalation of a nearly 15-year dispute between the two connected with Washington’s failure to halt tax breaks to Boeing and the alleged inconsistent subsidies given to Airbus, the American aircraft’s European rival.
Trade Wars: President Trump needs a political victory as his team considers strategy for a re-election campaign, and it could be the U.S.-China trade war that’s said to be in the final stages of resolution. A win here would certainly be a good talking point on trade policy, even though anyone contesting a claim of victory could point to the billions likely lost from the drop in exports. What was really at issue was protection for American intellectual property, and how that gets resolved won’t be known until the terms of the trade deal are finalized.