The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) welcomed the news that President Joe Biden has signed the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill into law. The relief comes just days after the decision to temporarily extend tariff exclusions for imports of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and to temporarily lift other punitive tariffs, which have been undue taxes on American businesses and consumers, according to AAFA President and CEO Steve Lamar today.
“Each of these actions are enormously beneficial steps for American businesses, American workers, American families and the American economy in getting to the other side of this pandemic,” Lamar states. “In particular, the extended employee retention tax credit (ERTC) allows businesses to keep American workers employed during these trying times. We also welcome the relief that is targeted for individuals—such as the stimulus checks—noting that such consumer-facing benefits underscore how important a healthy consumer is for sustained economic growth and that high tariffs work against that.”
Lamar adds, “This industry suffered a double-jab of the Covid-19 pandemic and the increasingly burdensome tariffs we face to get affordable products to consumers. At the same time, this industry has been on the front lines of repurposing supply chains to quickly fill our country’s critical need for personal protective equipment, adjusting operations in line with health guidance, and creating safe spaces for Americans to shop for essential apparel and footwear needs across many seasons of this pandemic. The association continues to educate the industry and consumers about safe shopping practices, wearing of face masks and accessing the vaccine as soon as possible to protect all Americans and allow the economy to flourish again. Stimulus is an important part of the equation, but this investment will be squandered without widespread vaccinations or if we end mask-wearing and social distancing measures too early. Beyond stimulus, it is important we quickly pass legislation to build a backstop for trade credit insurance and create limited liability protections, both of which are needed to sustain our recovery.”