When Thomas Friedman published his influential book The World is Flat in 2005, globalization was seen in a mostly positive light. Over the past few years, however, popular opinion has turned and a movement toward protectionism has grown. In an effort to push back against this trend and paint globalization and free trade in a more positive light, five retail industry associations and several large corporations recently formed the U.S. Global Value Chain Coalition.
The aim of the coalition is to educate policymakers and the general public about the role global supply chains play in the U.S. economy. Founding members include Target Corp., Levi Strauss & Co., and VF Corp. as well as the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), National Retail Federation (NRF), Promotional Products Association International (PPAI), Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), and U.S. Fashion Industry Association (USFIA).
"In today's global economy, it is essential that policies in Washington support the modern supply chain," said Rick Helfenbein, president and CEO of AAFA, in a statement. "While 98 percent of the clothes and shoes sold in the U.S. are imported, it is important to note that our industry provides nearly four million American jobs throughout the supply chain. By developing policies that open new markets and remove trade barriers, we can be more competitive, supply more good-paying jobs to American workers, and provide greater value for American consumers."
The coalition plans to conduct research and advocate for government policies that support U.S. companies' global supply chains. The group is already partnering with Moongate Associates, an international consulting firm, on research. This research includes a recent report that claims that the "value added" in the United States to analyzed retail products amounts to at least 70 percent of the retail price.