By Quinne Myers
Kat Rosati, a 10-year veteran of the apparel industry who has worked for brands like Hello Lovely Clothing at Apparel Booster says NAFTA has been incredibly helpful for the industry as a whole. “Many brands that look to cut costs, but still maintain a quick turnaround, consider Mexico an option because they do not have to worry about additional costs associated with other countries where taxes and tariffs can easily cost a third of the cost to manufacture the item in the first place,” she says.
However, Rosati doesn’t believe that tariffs on clothing imported from Mexico would impact the industry dramatically. “It would take some time, but apparel manufacturers that could afford to do so would just continue to do what they have always done: chase the labor dollar,” she says.
Those who couldn’t take production too far from home have other locations closer than Asia and cheaper than the States as well.
“They could end up producing in areas of Central America if they wished to keep production somewhat close,” Rosati says. “Or they could go to developing areas in Africa, where the Obama administration passed AGOA,” the African Growth and Opportunity Act, a trade agreement meant to help certain countries in African by reducing or eliminating tariffs on exports to the US, including apparel.