The Trump administration announced last Friday that it hoped to sign an initial trade deal in the next few weeks, an indication that the escalating trade war between the two countries could be cooling. As part of the deal, tax rates on imported goods will not increase to 30 percent from 25 percent as previously announced. Industry groups hailed trade talks, but warned that the tariff issues facing the industry are far from resolved.
“In this ongoing, uncertain trade and business environment, any talk of a potential deal is a positive development. However, we will not be fully satisfied until President Trump removes all of the China 301 import taxes hitting American families and American businesses," Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America President Matt Priest said in a statement. "The tariffs have already raised consumer costs and prevented shoe companies from growing. One step forward when we’ve taken three steps back on trade policy isn’t a real win for American shoe companies. We urge trade negotiators on both sides to keep working to a full agreement that rolls back all recent tariffs so everyone sees lower costs and shoe companies can unleash innovation and create new jobs.”
Rick Helfenbein, president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association, said, “While we welcome the President’s decision to withhold an additional tariff increase on many of our products, the reality is that everything currently being hit with punitive tariffs is still being charged.” According to Helfenbein, 53 percent of shoes imported from China are currently subject to an additional 15 percent tariff on top of the rates they had historically been subject to.
David French, SVP for government relations for the National Retail Federation, said that retailers were “encouraged” by the news, but added, “Although this is a step in the right direction, the uncertainty continues. We urge both sides to stay at the negotiating table with the goal of lifting all tariffs and fundamentally resetting U.S.-China trade relations.”