Trade

The Friday Podcast: A Meat Grinder For Fabric

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Marian Federoff uses an autopsy saw to cut apart shoes at the port of Long Beach. i

Marian Federoff uses an autopsy saw to cut apart shoes at the port of Long Beach. Alex Blumberg/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Alex Blumberg/NPR
Marian Federoff uses an autopsy saw to cut apart shoes at the port of Long Beach.

Marian Federoff uses an autopsy saw to cut apart shoes at the port of Long Beach.

Alex Blumberg/NPR

Almost half of all the duties collected in the U.S. are on apparel or footwear, and the laws that govern the importing of these goods are extremely complicated. Where the goods come from, what they are made of and how they are assembled, all play a role in how much duty an importer will have to pay.

We've talked about tariffs before on the podcast, but now that we've got our own Planet Money t-shirt in the works, we're paying much closer attention. Since it's likely at least some part of our t-shirt will be made abroad, we wanted to know exactly what to expect.

Cotton (left) and polyester (right) under the microscope at the port of Long Beach. i

Cotton (left) and polyester (right) under the microscope at the port of Long Beach. U.S. Customs & Border Protection hide caption

itoggle caption U.S. Customs & Border Protection
Cotton (left) and polyester (right) under the microscope at the port of Long Beach.

Cotton (left) and polyester (right) under the microscope at the port of Long Beach.

U.S. Customs & Border Protection

On today's podcast, we consult with trade lawyer Michael Cone, and visit the lab where customs officials check to make sure importers are following the rules.

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