Conflict Minerals Traceability Brushed Aside?

Posted by Gary M. Barraco on Wed, Feb, 15 2017 @ 2:30 PM

Every year, millions of dollars are channeled to armed rebels and insurgents and the source of these funds comes from the trade of minerals that are used in consumer goods of every type. Now known as conflict minerals, tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold (the 3TGs), are mined mostly in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and surrounding nations. The eventual sale and use of minerals originating from these countries frequently helps finance the violence and prolong the illicit working economy where civilians endure harsh conditions of armed conflict and human rights abuses.

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Topics: Global Sourcing, Vendor Management, Production Tracking

A Day of Action Sets the Tone for Future Trade

Posted by Gary M. Barraco on Thu, Jan, 26 2017 @ 9:45 AM

On his first full weekday in office, President Donald Trump swiftly abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with an executive order, standing by his Inauguration speech that “now arrives the hour of action." President Trump also signed an executive order to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The orders fulfill the pledge Trump made in mid-November to immediately make dramatic changes and put “America first” on his first day in office.

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Topics: Duty Management, Foreign-Trade Zones, Trade Agreements

Nine Supply Chain Investments to Make in 2017

Posted by Gary M. Barraco on Tue, Dec, 13 2016 @ 9:56 AM

What just happened? The global trade landscape changed dramatically when the enervating U.S. Presidential election ended. While the results shocked many around the world, the potential shifts in trade policies under President-Elect Trump are obvious.  Even in the first few days following his win, direct and unmistakable anti-trade sentiments have resounded from the incoming leader. The change in administration is sure to bring the dismantling of existing trade agreements, scrapping of pending agreements and a lack of focus on easing cross-border trade overall.

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Topics: GTM Best Practices, Global Trade Management

Webinar Recap: Vera Bradley Shares Its Amber Road Experience

Posted by Gary M. Barraco on Mon, Dec, 5 2016 @ 9:42 AM

A few weeks ago, we held a lively webinar with Megan Coale from Vera Bradley and Cheryl Layne from our customer success team.  We talked about the implementation of Amber Road’s solutions used by the teams at Vera Bradley to produce their iconic products.  Vera Bradley is a manufacturer of stylish quilted cotton luggage, handbags and accessories. With small-town roots in Indiana, the brand has grown to $500 million in annual sales, serving customers all around the globe.  Known for its distinctive and colorful fabrics and trims, some of the core company values that originated at Vera Bradley’s birth 20 years ago still exist – high quality products, produced by suppliers in a timely fashion, and of course, those recognizable, trend-setting fabrics.  These are the expectations of customers today, and Vera Bradley has it in the bag.

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Topics: Global Sourcing, Product Testing, Risk and Quality Management, Product Development, Vendor Management, Sample Management

The Story of that Yarn: BOM Qualification

Posted by Gary M. Barraco on Tue, Nov, 15 2016 @ 12:14 PM

Even with all of the potential free trade agreements (FTAs) companies can take advantage of, it’s little surprise that many U.S. importers are spinning when it comes to qualifying goods based on the restrictive regulations for sourcing inputs and raw materials.    

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Topics: Duty Management, Supplier Solicitation, Trade Agreements, Bill of Material Qualification

The Morning After-Shock: USFIA 28th Apparel Importers Trade and Transportation Conference

Posted by Gary M. Barraco on Mon, Nov, 14 2016 @ 10:17 AM

The world, our nation and especially the apparel industry was stymied by the results of the Presidential election, and now are starting to realize the changes that might come with the Trump Administration. But the opening speakers at the US Fashion Industry Association’s Annual Conference in New York City on November 9th, didn’t dwell on the negative. As a trade association, and body of people and organizations that represent the industry there was a lot of optimistic discussion and positive outlook. 

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Topics: Apparel, Transportation Management, Events

Testing Tinkertoys, Tonka Trucks, Teddy Bears, and Toy Chests: New ASTM Criteria Unifies Global Standards

Posted by Gary M. Barraco on Mon, Nov, 7 2016 @ 8:50 AM

Toy sales in the United States have shown robust growth figures in the last decade. Much of it is spurred by syndicated toy products from movies released to coincide with the Christmas season, drawing kids to add them to Santa’s list. According to The NPD Group, US toy sales increased 6.7 percent to $19.4 billion in 2015, topping the firm's estimate of 6.2 percent growth.

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Topics: Product Testing, Risk and Quality Management, Product Development, Quality Control Inspection

Sole Searching for Answers to Trade Compliance, Customs and Supply Chain Snags

Posted by Gary M. Barraco on Thu, Oct, 27 2016 @ 10:21 AM

An unusual rainy start didn’t stop the lively discussions and informative sessions on trade issues, compliance challenges, and customs solutions at FDRA’s Footwear Trade and Distribution Conference (FTDC) last week in Huntington Beach. Nearly 200 of the industry’s top footwear executives, traffic and distribution specialists, customs experts, and service providers joined the longest running U.S. footwear conference on October 16-19. Companies on stage and in the audience included Caleres, Deer Stags, Amer Sports, KEEN, NIKE, Kohl’s, and others.

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Topics: Apparel, Global Sourcing, Import Management, Import Compliance, Vendor Management

Even the eCommerce Giants Lack Export Control Processes

Posted by Gary M. Barraco on Mon, Oct, 24 2016 @ 9:38 AM

Amazon.com has dominated the eCommerce industry since 1995, originating as an online reseller of books.  During Amazon’s first month in business, it received orders from customers in 50 U.S. states and 45 countries across the world.  Today, the company offers over 183 million products and serves more than 224 million customers. 

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Topics: Export Management, Product Classification, Export License Management, Export Compliance, Export Violations

Forced Labor: Passé or Probable?

Posted by Gary M. Barraco on Fri, Oct, 21 2016 @ 9:30 AM

Ask any social compliance or corporate governance executive about forced or slave labor and the response is always the same: “It is unacceptable in my supply chain.”  Yet the reality is most supply chains lack the transparency to identify and take action against suppliers who violate this policy. Even with increased regulations and growing pressure from consumers and NGOs, industries struggle to maintain compliance

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Topics: Supplier Management, Supply Chain Visibility, Supplier Compliance Questionnaires, Global Supply Chain, Supply Chain Risk Management, Product Development