Congress Aims to Crack Down on Textile Fraud, Increase U.S. Jobs

I always love when Congress is forced to deal with anything involving fashion. Maybe it's reductive, but the thought of a bunch of serious men and women in suits talking about fake Chanel just cracks me up. They may not know the difference between harem pants and ombre dip-dye, but the fashion industry is so much more than tweens shopping at Forever21. Occasionally, the government has to step in and straighten things out.

Snarkiness aside, a bill was reintroduced yesterday that could mean really good news for U.S. jobs. U.S. Rep. Tom Graves (FL-14) and 23 cosponsors are behind the Textile Enforcement and Security Act, a bill that will modernize U.S. Customs and Border Protection and better equip them to fight fraudulent textiles imports. Graves said:

Our bipartisan bill will modernize Customs and Border Protection so it has the enforcement tools necessary to crack down on illegal activity, collect more duties and penalties and protect 600,000 American jobs in the textile industry

Textile fraud. Sounds intriguing, huh? Turns out a fake Chanel purse is so much more than a slightly desperate fashion statement (I'm not judging, I bought one in NYC when I was younger); it's an issue that's been getting worse for years.

Counterfeit goods affect us more than we realize: The government loses out on taxes, the consumer gets a fake product that may have been produced in unsafe conditions, designers lose out on sales and their own intellectual property, and the counterfeit industry could be linked to other troubling industries like narcotics, money laundering, and terrorism, according to the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development.

WWD reports that the proposed bill particularly cracks down on illegal apparel goods from Central America, Mexico, and Canada, though Graves mentioned China "fraudsters" in his statement.

If the bill passes, it'll help Customs and Border Protection by increasing the number of CBP specialists, modernizing their databases and tracking programs, and clarifying that they can seize fraudulent textiles. It'll also promote U.S. manufacturing growth and pay for itself through fines, fees, and penalties charged to those who violate the rules.

Go American textiles!