May 21, 2019
More than 170 footwear manufacturers, distributors, and retailers—including Nike, Under Armour, Adidas, Foot Locker, Ugg and Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse—signed and delivered a letter to the White House on May 20, asking President Donald Trump to reconsider his decision to raise tariffs on footwear imported from China, CNBC reported.
The request comes after the White House last week released a new list of about $300 billion in Chinese goods that could get hit with 25% tariffs, if Trump decides to move forward. The list includes footwear, CNBC said— everything from sneakers to sandals, golf shoes, rain boots and ski shoes.
The Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America, a trade organization for the industry, has estimated the tariffs could cost shoe shoppers more than $7 billion each year.
“There should be no misunderstanding that U.S. consumers pay for tariffs on products that are imported,” the letter said. “As an industry that faces a $3 billion duty bill every year, we can assure you that any increase in the cost of importing shoes has a direct impact on the American footwear consumer. It is an unavoidable fact that as prices go up at the border due to transportation costs, labor rate increases, or additional duties, the consumer pays more for the product.”
Indeed, if the tariffs are enforced, the price of a pair of shoes could hurtle $15 to $20 higher. The shoe companies estimate that a popular type of canvas “skate” sneaker, currently retailing at $49.99, with a 25% tariff, could increase to $65.57. The price of a typical hunting boot would increase from $190 to $248.56. And a popular performance running shoe could jump from $150 to $206.25, FDRA said.
What’s worse, the shoe companies said, “High footwear tariff rates fall disproportionately on working class individuals and families. While U.S. tariffs on all consumer goods average just 1.9 %, they average 11.3% for footwear; and reach rates as high as 67.5%. Adding a 25% tax increase on top of these tariffs would mean some working American families could pay a nearly 100% duty on their shoes. This is unfathomable
The U.S. imported $11.4 billion worth of footwear from China last year, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, making it an industry that is strongly reliant on that country for its cheaper yet skilled labor.
The companies implored the president, “On behalf of our hundreds of millions of footwear consumers and hundreds of thousands of employees, we ask that you immediately stop this action to increase their tax burden. Your proposal to add tariffs on all imports from China is asking the American consumer to foot the bill. It is time to bring this trade war to an end.”
Research contact: @FDRA