Footwear industry advocacy groups condemned the latest tariff developments in the ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and China.
On May 10, with no secure trade deal in place, the U.S. began raising tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports to 25 percent from 10 percent, with the remaining $325 billion worth of additional goods imported from China under threat of the same rate. On Monday, China announced it would be raising tariffs on $60 billion worth of American imports to 20 to 25 percent from 10 percent.
“This is a self-inflicted wound that will be catastrophic for the nation’s economy,” Rick Helfenbein, president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association, said in a statement. By the AAFA’s calculations, the average American family will spend $500 a year more on shoes under the tariff pricing. “By tightening the noose and pulling more consumer items into the trade war, the President has shown that he is not concerned with raising taxes on American families, or threatening millions of American jobs that are dependent on global value chains. As AAFA has continually stated, tariffs are taxes on American consumers that result in higher prices, lower sales, and lost jobs.”
The Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America is urging its members to Tweet “No New Shoe Tariffs!” to the president, citing the $2.99 billion in duties the footwear industry paid in 2018.
“President Trump’s latest proposal to raise import taxes on shoes from China means that Americans will pay an additional $7 billion in higher shoe costs per year,” Matt Priest, president and CEO of the FDRA, said in a statement. By the FDRA’s calculations, kids shoes will rise to $15 from $10, running shoes to $206.25 from $150, canvas shoes to $65.57 from $49.99 and hunting boots to $248.56 from $206.25.
“Import taxes on shoes are not paid by China. They are paid by every American, every time they buy shoes. This is not fair, it is not sustainable, and it will not solve our trade issues,” Priest said.
Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation, said the tariffs went too far and urged the president to rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership: “The latest tariff escalation is far too great a gamble for the U.S. economy. Slapping tariffs on everything U.S. companies import from China – goods that support U.S. manufacturing and provide consumers with affordable products – will jeopardize American jobs and increase costs for consumers.”