On the heels of this morning’s statement from Matt Priest, president and CEO of Footwear Distributors and Retailers Association (FDRA), regarding the organiztion’s disagreement with President Trump announcing potentially $200 billion more in tariffs on Chinese goods, another front has opened up in the brewing trade war. This one involves President Trump’s claim that Canadians are “smuggling” shoes into Canada from the U.S. to avoid tariffs. In response, Priest states:
“On behalf of the American footwear industry, we welcome anyone from anywhere to come and purchase shoes in America. It helps both our brands and retailers grow. Period. We don’t care where they wear them, and if they get scuffed up, all the better so we can sell them more.” Priest added, “The President seems misinformed about footwear trade. Consumers buying shoes in America already pay a very high tariff, upwards of 37.5% and 67.5%. NAFTA is not treating footwear consumers in America unfairly, the American government itself has not lowered footwear duties in a meaningful way in over 80 years. If the President is concerned about treating American footwear companies and consumers fairly, then he should have signed the TPP to lower footwear costs in America. Canada signed the TPP and will eventually get duty free shoes from Vietnam, a major sourcing hub, where American brands will ship directly into Canada duty free. Canadians have no real reason to “smuggle” their shoes because their government is already helping lower their costs through proper trade deals.”
As for this morning’s comments, Priest stated: “With the President’s announcement last night directing USTR to explore the potential for additional tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods, it’s very difficult to see how this doesn’t negatively impact all Americans of every walk of life. The President claimed that trade wars are easy to win but what our industry has always known is coming true—trade wars are costly, unnecessary and do harm to the American economy. The footwear industry calls on the Trump Administration to show real leadership and declare a cease fire to this self-inflicted conflict.”
FDRA’s Matt Priest in pre-trade war times.