American Apparel & Footwear Association President and CEO Steve Lamar emphasized the need for additional federal support to address the ongoing shipping crisis that has caused a “destructive cycle of lengthening delays and rocketing costs” in a letter to President Biden.

The letter is the second sent by the industry regarding this issue and follows the June Consumer Price Index report that showed significant inflation among apparel and footwear products.

While Lamar welcomed efforts to pass a comprehensive bipartisan infrastructure bill and the President’s June 9 Executive Order that directs the Federal Maritime Commission to consider additional rules to counter unfair detention and demurrage costs, Lamar noted that American businesses need assistance now. In the short term, Lamar highlighted the industry’s support for the removal of Section 301 tariffs and the renewal of the Generalized System of Preferences and Miscellaneous Tariff Bill.

“The next several months are critical to the American retail industry as we prepare for back-to-school and holiday shopping. If action is not taken, we risk empty shelves that would trip up our nation’s economic recovery,” said Lamar. “This week’s inflation news shows that this is already having an effect on consumers. While there are many medium and long-term actions that must be taken, the President can have an immediate impact on American small businesses and American consumers by ending the previous administration’s punitive Section 301 tariffs that continue to hamstring our industry.”

To read the full letter to the President, go here.  AAFA’s previous letter, dated June 15, on the subject, which includes anonymous anecdotes from AAFA members detailing the impact on business, go here.

Photos courtesy AAFA/Steve Lamar, Getty