All pain, no gain…
Today, the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) sent a letter to President Donald J. Trump emphasizing the need for a “Phase One” deal that both eliminates the tariffs that are currently in place and removes the threat of those scheduled to take effect on Dec. 15.
“While the punitive tariffs imposed by both the U.S. and China over the past 15 months have brought attention to issues plaguing the U.S./China trade relationship, they have also caused severe damage to U.S. companies, the millions of U.S. workers they employ, and the hundreds of millions of U.S. consumers they service,” wrote Rick Helfenbein, AAFA president and CEO. “Our members—be they manufacturers, importers, exporters, wholesalers, larger companies or small companies—have pointed to the extraordinary costs associated with the tariffs as creating enormous problems for their businesses. These costs, many of which were suddenly imposed, stifle investments, impede market access, lead to the loss of American jobs, and raise prices for American families. The uncertainty associated with the talks only magnifies the pain by forcing companies to create and constantly revisit multiple tariff mitigation scenarios.”
Approximately 92 percent of apparel, 68 percent of home textiles, and 53 percent of footwear imports from China to the U.S. have already been hit with a 15 percent punitive tariff since Sept. 1, 2019. AAFA estimates that if the Dec. 15 tariffs go through on the remainder of these products imported from China, the annual cost for the industry would increase by $1.003 billion for footwear, $354.6 million for apparel and $397.7 million for home textiles.
All imports of travel goods (e.g., backpacks, handbags, wallets), leather apparel, accessories, and select textiles from China have been hit with as much as 25 percent punitive tariffs since September 2018. According to the Tariffs Hurt the Heartland campaign, the U.S.-China trade war has cost American consumers more than $42 billion to date.
Rick Helfenbein, AAFA president and CEO