Apparel Sourcing Intelligence - Worldwide

EU imposes “retaliatory” import duty on US jeans

The EU announced on April 30 that it was retaliating against the United States for continuing to flout the World Trade Organisation finding that America’s Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act ( also known as the ‘Byrd Amendment’) was incompatible with America’s treaty obligations.

As a result, EU import duty on four US products, including women’s jeans, would be  increased from May 1 by an additional 1.5%. This brings EU duty on US women’s jeans up to 13.5%, which continues to be lower than the 16.6% the US imposes on virtually all foreign jeans – including those from Least Developed Countries, a tax the US promised to remove in 2005. The US has so far made no effort to honour its commitments on taxing the world’s poorest garment makers, either.

The EU imported 533,462 pairs of women’s jeans from the US in 2014: less than 0.025% of the 227 million pairs it imported from outside the Union. Though the decision makes a storm in a teacup sound earth-shattering, jeans were originally chosen as one of the products targeted precisely to provoke California’s easily upset fashion industry into exaggerating the damage America’s continuing determination to dishonour promises was having on its export targets.