FDRA President & CEO Matt Priest issued the following statement after President Trump tweeted that the U.S. will add 10 percent tariffs on the remaining $300 billion in goods from China, including footwear:
“We are dismayed at President Trump’s announcement that he is adding 10 percent tariffs on the remaining $300 billion in imported goods from China on September 1st. FDRA has worked tirelessly to make the case against even higher tariffs on shoes. We hoped that continued open communication channels between Washington and Beijing would allow time to ease trade tensions and eventually end the tariff threat. It is clear political considerations are outweighing economic common sense, especially as this comes on the heels of a rate drop by the Federal Reserve indicating more challenging economic times ahead.
President Trump’s new tariffs should concern every American. 70 percent of every pair of shoes sold in the U.S. comes from China. Footwear from China is already hit with upwards of 67 percent duties. President Trump is, in effect, using American families as a hostage in his trade war negotiations. Tariffs are taxes and this move will noticeably raise the cost of shoes at retail and will have a chilling effect on hiring in the footwear industry.
We will not take this news lying down. This is one of the largest tax increases in American history and it is vitally important that we fight this action on behalf of our consumers and our industry.”
The apparel and footwear industry expressed its deep frustration following the announcement by President Donald J. Trump that he will direct his administration to impose a punitive 10 percent tariff on a list of $300 billion worth of U.S. imports from China beginning Sept. 1.
“Tariffs are taxes on American consumers. The President’s decision to proceed with adding these additional costs for hard-working American families is truly shocking,” said Rick Helfenbein, president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association. “This decision will increase the tariff bill on all clothes, shoes, and home textiles, like blankets and sheets – products that already account for the vast majority of the duties collected by the U.S. government. The fact that this tweet comes after only one meeting with the Chinese delegation following the resumption of talks is extremely concerning. It is time for Congress to step up and take back its authority to manage international trade as outlined under the U.S. Constitution.”
The list of products, which was under a public comment period in June, includes all imports of apparel and footwear products. In 2018, 42 percent of apparel and 69 percent of footwear sold in the U.S. was imported from China. The punitive tariff would be added on top of the tariffs already imposed on these products – in 2017, 51 percent of the duties collected by the U.S. government came from the apparel, footwear, textiles, and travel goods industry, despite accounting for only 6 percent of all imports. Most textiles, all travel goods, and many accessories are currently being hit with a 25 percent additional tariff as part of previous steps taken by the administration in the trade conflict with China.