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Writing Instruments Soar
Pe ns Are Ul tra Great Promoters! About 50,000 to 60,000 years B.C., the stone hand axe would have been the first tool to be used by humans in attempting to scratch patterns into stone. Many such scrapers and gravers/burins have been found in caves in Southern France and Spain. Writing instruments, it seems, didn’t really get their start until growing demand for written records lead to the desire for more practical writing instruments. It was then that the invention of ink and the use of papyrus as a writing surface represented a great leap forward. The quill and fountain pen were the first in use… but competition to the fountain pen arrived in the 1930’s with the invention of the ballpoint pen. Because the ball point had the advantage of being able to write for a very long time without constantly needing refilling--coupled with the fact that it was leak-proof and that its ink-paste dried quickly once applied to paper—ball point pens soon became the preferred writing instrument worldwide. In our era, the ballpoint pen was followed by the ink roller, which is structurally similar to the ballpoint
pen but uses liquid ink rather than viscous ink-paste and thus allows for a smooth and flowing writing action. And there’s so much more history about pens to reveal but that’s all we can print here. Let’s take a tour as to why writing instruments soar in popularity when used as promotional products. First, 50% of the people in the USA own a writing instrument. There are few categories in the
promotional world that eclipse pens in terms of ownership and those are: t-shirts 58%, and drinkware 53%. But let’s get to the reasons pens work so well to promote your brands. One would think that with the advent of the computer that pens would diminish in their popularity, but that’s just not the case. Pen use
is up dramatically…because pens have taken on a multi-personality if you will. Pens can contain a message, a flash light, screw driver, knife, and more. Frequently they do! And many pens have been designed to work with computers or smartphones by adding in a soft rubber tip or stylus that allows people to use the stylus to make selections on those electronic devices. Pens can cost from less than $.50 to $50 or more with your company’s logo on them. Hotels use billions of pens to brand their company…and millions of those pens travel home with people after their stay at a hotel. Banks, insurance companies, auto-dealers…almost anyone that has contact with the public uses pens to promote their business. People keep them around for a long time, many until they run out of ink. So cost, longevity in use, great branding opportunities, and actually servicing a purpose are great reasons why pens of all types are really great promotional products. Let’s also discuss the future of writing instruments…where is pen technology headed? There are pens that can write in any position and those have gone to the
moon. That might be considered old technology, but today there are pens that can write in 3-D, pumping out words or shapes. More and more features are being added every year to pens and there are some very creative adaptations…look for almost any combination you can imagine. There are even pens that have ten colors and spinner tops. Ask your Distributor for an unusual pen and you’ll probably get ten variations that will surprise you with their creativity. Smart pens are following their own line of evolution. Eventually smart pens will be able to work with any device, have quite a few new apps, and will incorporate the ability to record audio, store file and more. And for sure there will be pens that can write holographic messages. Imagine that, writing in the air without the need for a piece of paper to write on that will instantly transfer that data to your smartphone or computer. Pens will certainly continue to adapt to our lifestyles… and promotions…make no mistake about it. Paper: Something to write on will no longer be necessary either – we’ll be able to write in the space in front of our faces and wipe it away with a swipe of our hand. IDENTITYEDGE.PROMO 13
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This program is designed to drive large orders with popular products, gigantic inventory, and expedited turnaround â€” all at aggressive prices!
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step by step
Step 1. The design starts off with a client sending a request. Sample pictures always help.
Step 2. Our designers use the images provide to create a virtual mock-up, illustrating size, color, logo placement.
Step 3. Once the mock-up has been approved, the mold is produced. We then provide digital photos of the mold.
Step 4. After the mold is approved, a painted sample is produced and digital photos are provided for
t doesn’t seem possible that 1/6th of 2018 is already history. Where did the time go? My Dad used to constantly remind me that decades turn into years, years turn into months, months into weeks, and weeks into days… where hours and minutes really cease to exist. I didn’t understand what he was saying then, but I do now. Time is precious. And that goes with and applies to your promotions. There are many seasonal promotions coming up and if you are not prepared for them, you’ll be missing out on vital branding time. If you haven’t laid out your complete annual promotional marketing plan, hop to it. There are a bunch of great marketing opportunities that lay ahead of you. Spring is about to happen and that’s a great time for companies to do promotions. People are 28 IDENTITYEDGE.PROMO
coming out of their homes, offices and stores and spending time outdoors. Ah, what a relief for many after such a long cold spell in the north. When that happens people are eager and
open to promotions and your branding. As we publish the March edition of IdentityEdge we want to welcome you to our readership. We are now emailing IdentityEdge to almost one million businesses in the USA. There’s one thing that’s for sure… we are bringing you professional
information about marketing trends, fashion and promotional programs related exclusively to the promotional products industry. No other publication does that. IdentityEdge is written by serious professionals that have decades long experience in the promotional products world. We do extensive research on the articles posted in IdentityEdge. We want you — our readers — to have the most current and up-to-date information on promotional products branding. We always want to hear from you so please don’t hesitate to contact us. We value your feedback and want to make IdentityEdge the best it can be for our readers.
Copyright March 2018, IdentityEdge.Promo. All Rights Reserved.
Most of the time when you buy promotional products they come bulk packed in a polybag. You say “that’s OK, the recipients of my products just tear the packaging off anyway”. Maybe it’s not so OK because you are missing out on a big branding opportunity. Almost every month IdentityEdge focuses on increasing or getting higher numbers for branding impressions. The more impressions you get the better your ad program is working. This applies across the board from TV, radio, print and promotional products. At every opportunity possible you should be taking advantage of branding your products by packaging them; when you do it really elevates 32 IDENTITYEDGE.PROMO
their perceived value. Most of the time packaging doesn’t add a lot to your bottom line cost but it sure does add value and perceived value scores big with your clients. The appearance of a product’s packaging is central to the success—or failure—of the promotion of the product.
Packaging Protects Generally product packaging
protects your promotional products from damage. Packaging not only protects the product during transit from the manufacturer to your promotional giveaway site, but it also prevents damage while it’s being given away. Most products have some form of packaging. The cooler it looks the more people will want it. The Visual Laws of Attraction This isn’t about how people are attracted to other people, this is how people are attracted to a product because it’s packaging looks awesome, intriguing, and beautiful. It’s really simple… you do want people to REALLY want your promotional product with your brand. This is ultraimportant when you are giving away a promotional product
because you are seeking “I want that” feeling from your customers. For this reason, many companies conduct extensive research on color schemes, designs and types of product packaging that is the most appealing to its intended consumer. Promotion, Promotion, Promotion More…more…more impressions! Want to portray an important message about your promotional product and get more impressions? Packaging can do that job. You can add valuable information about your promotion to the package that can include contact information, a website address and more. Those are things you generally cannot add to a single logoed product in a polybag. Packaging also plays an important role for portraying information about the product. Differentiation Packaging does a great job differentiating one brand of product from another brand. Just a simple color change can facilitate that using the same logo. Because product packaging
contains company names, logos and the color scheme of the company, it helps consumers to identify the product. Remember, this is in addition to the logo that appears on the product itself in the packaging that promotes your brand. For example, your customer may identify with your company brand, which propels them to want the product. What we’re saying here is packaging counts a lot and can really do a better job promoting your brand. Remember, the packaging can
tell the entire story you want to impart to your customer…and the product inside continues to do its job after the box is opened. Custom packaging isn’t new to the promotional products industry, its been around for a decade or so. Take advantage of it… and your promotional products Distributor has a ton of ideas that will constantly increase the number of impressions that you will get. IDENTITYEDGE.PROMO 33
Include Desktop Products
in your Promotions - hereʻs why
IMPRESSIONS PER MONTH Writing Instruments
Choose from monitor & keyboard cleaners, mobile media stands, stainless steel mugs or even custom letter slitters. There has to be 10,000 different product choices. Here’s a statistic published by “thenumbersthatmatter.com”. 42% of your customers have a more favorable impression of your company after receiving the item. When it sits on your client’s desk, the endorsement is even stronger and lasts longer. In your marketing world there’s a big fight going on…and that’s to get your products on your client’s desktop before your competitors do. Desktop real estate—as we call it—is the most prime space for advertising and most of the time these items are useful and usually kept. For example, desk/office business accessories, calendars, glassware/ceramics and writing instruments are in the top four categories for desktop items. (Source, thenumberthatmatters.com.) Now let’s take a look at the average number of impressions that each one of these items can bring.
Glassware & Ceramics
Include Desktop Products in your Promotions—here’s why Desktop Promotional Products Are in a Whopping 53% of American Businesses In previous issues of IdentityEdge. Promo we discussed why “impressions” are important when considering your promotional products. The job of any promotional product is to ultimately influence your customers into buying your products. Being able to quantify the effectiveness of an ad campaign is frequently measured in impressions. The rationale that follows is… The more impressions you get, the more business you will get. That’s a tried and true ad formula whether it’s from buying print, TV, radio or the internet ads. It’s all about the number of times you can get someone to look at your Brand. Desktop promotional products are some of the best items to use in marketing campaigns. Not only are these items attractive, but logoed office supplies are useful products that can be given away at any event.
That’s pretty amazing. Buying a mug with your logo on it could last for many years, but let’s take one year and that equals over 3000 impressions a year for a $5 mug. WOW…now that’s getting your money’s worth don’t you think? It could be any desktop item that can do this kind of job increasing your impressions. Desktop promotional products are one of our favorite as they stay and are used by your client every workday In general a desk is a place where we spend a lot of time, therefore desktop promotional items make for perfect marketing items.
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Get Your Spring Promotions Moving
With spring in the air and the winter blues almost a cold memory, itâ€™s time to start thinking about and implementing spring promotion ideas for your business. Many businesses depend on the year-end holidays for a large portion of their yearly sales, but with the spring season aheadâ€”which can be slow starting--you can boost your sales by offering clever and advantageous spring marketing ideas. Here are just a few ideas:
out of their t e g to e n o rages every excuse will y n a t s o Spring encou lm A rs. r. njoy outdoo side all winte in d e p p a homes and e tr en d who have be y n a invite old an m r to fo y a o w d d o o g gram is a It could be a . s s e A free gift pro in s u b r for ers into you n a small gift e v e r o , new custom rk a pen, a bookm use this type s e s s e in s u promotional b y hase. So man et extra sales g d n a d n a future purc ra rb . Extend you of marketing ring buyers. p s y rl a e m o fr
The bi Ent g spring ger the priz er to Win e promo tion id the better! A could ea bu no joint v ndle your ow is to offer a c ther good en on n a BIGG ture with an products as test. You o ER jack a prize pot or ther busines , fo drive t s use pr raffic. P to com rm a o motion romot e up w social e your media a it l p r o d c , news ontest ucts to h so cus l e via y tters tom person ers will com , and promo our website , e to yo tional . Reme p u m e r r o n b s p e d e t er to a wslette dd any ore and ente ucts o Shaunds during thng t r n a i n d g r n contac Sprinunwanted po ine that losi ers t datab ew entries to in ase. your eterm ng custom gain d e l y e p h o i t e , p t l p r l e u y u H s n oost yo So ma nths. As a re ew season. b o t y n a e mo for the great w ould includ re t s a winter u s i m g c The prin t is a eas weigh ape for the s romotion id r be healthy. p o to you sh get in . Your spring get in shape cts available up u ss e busine to help them otional prod an also com and s c m e g y offerin of those pro ributor. The ake you shin m ist on are a t your local D eas that will h id throug e awesome m with so es. al grow s
Cleani Look a ng Sem round N around your c O inar JOKE! ommu trying n t a sprin i g clean o get people ty. You’ll find o in t leadin g expe g seminar o o get organi rganizationa z r r le ed t produ worksh cts ver ? You can dri op for . Why not of xperts all y v fe y e a dual e purpo asily by givi them to the our custome r to host n se—an r s and a p d prom g them out a eminar with s with a romot s in pro oti io them o f the e nal product onal product vites. Then y motional th ve o Spong t es, glo nt. What ar at will stay w hat is your in u have es ve vitatio ith you price r ange i s or cleaning ome of the r c l i e nts rem n— s from p r c soap c o l o d t u hs, e ind cts ver an be c ustom y inexpensiv yeglass wipe you can use? ing e logoed s ! recyc to fairly exp and more. Y e lable p our roduct nsive. Even dish s. March Madness
n Go Greehat will relate your
me way effort t o s g e in t w e a k r n a ma l be a Creating h Day in April wil by sponsoring a Eart r brand u o vite the y brand to in d il d u n B a . t s n sale eve the best e to create p…tree planting r a s t ir h nu . T-s an road clea to do it with you roducts c her p r e h y t it o t t commun ase. Wha seed packs…or o c is h t in s y billboard Going Green? Tr r o you use f roducts. le p recyclab
Look, you’re not a basketball fan, nor is your com pany. But the NCAA College March Madness is an idea l time to tie your brand and marketing message to the event. Everything from banners, to squeeze basketb alls… almost anything basketball related will tie you r brand to March Madness is a great way. You might eve n consider providing a special discount during the three week event…and promoting it with a cool give-aw ay product.
These are just a few spring marketing tips to give your spring sales a boost. Remember to plan early for your spring promotion ideas so you have plenty of time to make printed material and do any necessary advertising. Working together with another business to form a joint marketing venture also takes time, but can be certainly worth the effort. Get started now or get left behind in the spring seasonal rush. IDENTITYEDGE.PROMO 41
Five Top Programs & Their Success Revealed Small to Medium Businesses Use Promo Products to Increase Sales.
It’s been proven over and over again, small to medium businesses do better with promotional products than they do with mass media. Consider this statistic: of the people surveyed, 52% said their impression of a company is more positive after receiving a promotional product from them, and nearly 50% use those products daily. How did your last marketing tactic stack up against those numbers? 5 Benefits of Using Promotional Products:
Increased brand recognition. A goal for businesses, big and small, is often brand recognition. How can you make your brand not only stand out from the competition, but also remain in the minds of customers, both current and
potential? One way is to get creative with your marketing. Promotional products are a simple tool that can help increase brand awareness for your small business; by customizing an item that a customer can use in his or her everyday life with your logo, for instance, you’re able to keep your small business top of mind.
contact information. Instead of just leaving a potential customer with your business card, for example, consider leaving behind your business card AND another tangible, branded product. If you own a computer company, and just fixed someone’s machine, pass out your business card and a USB drive!
Mass outreach at a low cost. With a tight budget, it can be difficult to choose exactly what marketing items make the most sense for your small business, and what items will give you the most “bang for your buck.” With a small price tag but large, lasting impact, promotional products are a great value for your investment. Keep this in mind: A simple giveaway is a great way to increase customer loyalty. If you own a storefront, including a fun takeaway with purchases is a nice way to say thanks!
Tactile. When it comes to marketing your business, another thing to keep in mind is repeat exposure. How can you keep what you do, and your business, consistently in front of customers without consistently spending a ton of money? Easy: Think about what items your customers will want to keep around. If you own a spa, for instance, put an appointment reminder on the back of your business card, as customers will want to keep that around to remember when they have to come back. If you run a bar, think about handing out free bottle openers or cozies.
Alternative business card. While business cards will always be an incredibly valuable business staple, promotional products are a fun, creative way to showcase your
Powerful marketing platform. What does your marketing portfolio look like? Think about this: If you had to choose between eating the same pizza, twice a week, every week, for lunch, or getting two different lunches each week instead, what would you pick? We think most of you would choose variety. The same principle can be applied to your small business. Although having staple marketing products is important, being able to vary what you’re using to brand your business is important, too! IDENTITYEDGE.PROMO 43
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f you as a promotional products buyer are not staying on top of the most current, weirdest and interesting trends, you are losing market share. No so you say? You’d rather buy the standard t-shirts for your promotional products ad campaigns to save a few bucks? Rethink that strategy. It’s so very important for promotional products buyers to stay connected to what is happening in the fashion world. Why? Because as the promotions become more competitive, you’ve got to start offering more fashion oriented products to keep your customer’s wearing your brand. And there are plenty of companies offering really great styles in the promotional products world…many are advertising with IdentityEdge this month. Fashion dominates our society and its becoming more and more important in the promotional products industry as well. Believe it when we tell you, the competitors who are branding with creative and fashion-forward garments are getting much longer wear times by using good looking garments.
Now you say… those products cost significantly more; for the most part we agree. But do you want your competitors to get a leg up just because you won’t spend more than five bucks on a t-shirt? Think again. The longer the wear cycle the more advertising you get.
Did you know that Ultra Violet is the official color of 2018? Bet you didn’t unless you’re a fashionista. We’re banking on that pretty pastel shade of lavender to take over. That pale hue was all over the spring 2018 runways which were held in the Fall of 2017.
Here’s some of the garments we’ve found that are making headway in fashion big time. Bike shorts were on the runways for Nina Ricci, Fenty and other companies. Like it or not they are back and will be an inescapable trend of 2018. Pinterest confirmed this… and the great news is there’s no lack of abundance in styles, colors for bike shorts. Yes, some of them are being worn as regular shorts and not just on bikes.
Art infused fashions are big this year. Your Distributor can make and print overall designs featuring your logo… making for a colorful and rich fabrics design. Trust us, art styled logos infused into a cool design will be the hottest thing going for wearables in 2018. Who’s doing it? Companies like Versace, Prada... you name it.
Plaid is also big in 2018 according to Bazaar Magazine, but how does that translate to promotional products? Again, overall prints are so easily achieved now in the promotional products industry. All you need is a creative artist and a Distributor with the knowhow of overall printing. Here’s a big surprise… the resurgence of the Fanny Pack! Once one of the most taboo and ugly accessory items has made a big comeback and now the designs are cooler than ever before. In the spring 2018 fashion shows fanny packs were all over the runway. Even people like Rihanna, Kendall Jenner and others were spotted sporting fanny packs. Workout Clothing is now being worn to work, that’s how popular it’s become. Also called “Athleisure” the latest fashion styles take it back to the styles of the 80’s and 90’s. Retro workout pieces have been spotted at Gucci and Louis Vuitton… Remember if you want your customers to wear your logo, why not give them a fashion forward garment?
Most people won’t believe this but clear plastic outwear was featured by Calvin Klein, Valentino, Chanel and other outwear manufacturers. Once shunned by the promotional products industry, the opportunities to imprint on clear plastic become major walking billboards. There’s nothing quite like it… and there are plenty of options out there. You can combine embroidery and screen printing. You can print four color process, which includes detailed product images. Think of it this way, clear plastic is a billboard that doesn’t have any physical distractions. Printing your logo on it is the only image on it… there’s no interference from fabric weaves or color.
Last, sheer socks… wild as that may seem, sheer socks are big this year. They are being worn with pumps, sneaker or sandals. Add your logo and people will be checking them out. Think we’re kidding, “saves” for sheers socks is up by 72 percent.
Denim, dark denim, is back. From jackets to pants and accessories, dark denim is the go to fabric for jean wear this year.
is ALWAYS Better than Receiving For the most part we never name or talk about a corporation in IdentityEdge other than to feature their ads, but we think one of our advertisers is doing something so special that we need to mention them. Sweda is one of the promotional product’s industry’s biggest Suppliers. Many of you reading this page have purchased their products as they have sold MILLIONS of promotional products. But unlike most promotional products Suppliers,
Sweda has made a huge corporate decision to do some heavy socially responsible lifting…they have launched a brand called Basecamp. A portion of the proceeds for any sale of Basecamp products will be donated to fund the Warrior Spirit Retreat. The Warrior Spirit Retreat is a place where our servicemen and women—Warriors--learn to heal and get all the help they need. To contribute to the Warrior Retreat, please visit their website: www. warriorspiritretreat.org. You should also visit www.liveBasecamp.com. What is Basecamp? Basecamp products are design for the outdoors and help us enjoy the world–and we know that requires having the
right high quality equipment. But remember ALL sales provide relief for wounded warriors. All Basecamp gear is designed with purpose; no matter what level of adventure you seek, they will make sure you are comfortable and well equipped on your journey. You too can follow Sweda’s lead and logo Basecamp’s products with your brand and help our warriors. Basecamp’s design team is full of gear-heads who love diving into specifications agonizing over material types; but they know that might not be your “thing” which is why they’ve taken care of all the technical details for you. All you have to worry about is hitting the road, trail, or water – your Basecamp stuff will take care of the rest--with your branding logo… it’s a perfect match. So what are you waiting for? Grab your Basecamp gear and get out there. Live Bold. Live Basecamp.
BILL Could Benefit Promotional Products Industry
ith 1,700 imported raw materials and finished products—including drinkware, apparel and drawstring backpacks—being considered, the US Senate is working on a bill that could greatly reduce the price or duties on those items. Earlier this month in a unanimous vote, the House declared the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Act a done deal. It’s waiting in the Senate’s Committee on Finance to be approved. This bill is especially important to the promotional products industry because it will reduce the duty on some imported products. Most of these products are not
produced in the US anyway. Items include various men’s and women’s footwear, woven bamboo products, yarns, dyed pique fabric, nylon, knit pullovers and cardigans, types of headwear, yoga mats, vacuum steel-lined coffee servers, nonwoven polypropylene bags, certain neoprene smartphone cases, fishing reels, leather gloves, backpacks, elastic water-repellent polyester fabric, and much more. Should the bill be approved and signed into law, it could eliminate more than $1.1 billion in import tariffs over the ensuing three years, according to estimates from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). In addition, the act could help bolster U.S. manufacturing output by $3.1 billion. When it comes to the ad specialty space, industry companies importing materials and products named in the bill could experience a bottom line benefit by paying less or no duty on items that previously required capital outlay. Still, it remains uncertain whether easing the tariff grip will result in promo
suppliers lowering prices on a broad swath of products. A complex swirl of inputs – from shipping costs, to currency exchange rates, to labor costs -- go into determining product price, and suppliers have been dealing with escalating costs for years in overseas manufacturing hotbeds like China. Such factors, along with the fact that the tariff relief is slated to be just for a couple years, have some in the industry skeptical that widespread product price-drops would occur even if the bill went into effect. “The concern is that the benefits will be temporary and, as such, companies could be reluctant to pass the savings on,” said Darron Losse, vice president of key accounts at HandStands (asi/59525). “The more sustainable long-term option would be to create a permanent tariff reduction. This would have lasting benefits for companies, employees and customers.” Nonetheless, promo pros certainly see upsides to even temporary relief from tariffs.
Positives, they say, could include everything from limited price reductions on select items to end-clients that import effected materials and products having more cash to spend on marketing, which could lead to more opportunities for distributors. “There would be an overall benefit to a temporary tariff relief bill within the promo industry,” said Losse. “This relief would allow for an overall increase in activity within the various sectors.” Paul Bellantone, president and CEO of Promotional Products Association International, told Counselor that the tariff relief proposed could give American companies the opportunity to be more competitive, “resulting in increased exports of American products and allowing U.S. companies to hire more American workers. By reducing or eliminating a variety of import duties on over 1,700 products, our interpretation of the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Act is that it delivers some relief to the apparel industry, which is an industry that comprises 6% of U.S. imports and has paid over 50% of duties collected by the U.S. government in recent years.” Beyond promo, NAM and other top industry trade organizations like the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) have urged the Senate to approve the bill quickly and send it to the president’s desk for signing. “While it may not make headlines, this is a top story and a big deal
for manufacturers,” Jay Timmons, president and CEO of NAM, told The Hill. “Manufacturers and other businesses face what amounts to a nearly $1 million-a-day tax every additional day this issue goes unresolved.” Rick Helfenbein, president and CEO of AAFA, believes making
the bill law would be a boon to American businesses and consumers, just-style reported. “This bill will provide real benefits for U.S. businesses and result in lower prices for U.S. families, opportunities to hire more U.S. workers, and the opportunity reinvest in product innovation.”
Published on Mar 12, 2018