More than 200 shoe companies have banded together to send a letter to President Donald Trump, urging the removal of proposed levies on $300 billion worth of Chinese imports.
Delivered by the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA) the memo dated Aug. 28 contested the upcoming 15% duty on the fourth tranche of tariffs, of which the first set is to take effect on Sept. 1 and the next impacting American businesses on 15 December. Among the notable signatories include sportswear giants Nike, Adidas and Fila; designers Betsey Johnson, Sam Edelman and Marc Fisher; casual shoemakers Crocs, Birkenstock and Vionic; and even chains like JCPenney and DSW.
“There is no doubt that tariffs act as hidden taxes paid by American individuals and families,” the letter read. “When import costs rise and fall on imported footwear — whether based on the price of materials, transportation, labour or tariffs — those cost increases or savings are almost immediately passed on to consumers.”
Shoe imports are already heavily taxed, with the FDRA reporting that existing duties average 11% and go up as high as 67.5%. The trade group added that there are 147 classifications of footwear imports in the latest tariffs list, with 91 of them hit this weekend and another 56 taxed following the peak holiday shopping season.
It’s not the first letter in which American companies — from major brands and retailers to small and independently run stores — have called out Trump for targeting footwear imports. In May, 170-plus shoe players outlined the impact that the new import tax would have on businesses and working-class Americans. (At the time, the threatened tariffs went up to 25%.) With added duties of 15%, the FDRA estimates that consumers will pay roughly $4 billion more every year for shoes.
“It is vitally important that the president knows his new taxes are going to hurt both their employees and families who buy shoes,” said FDRA President and CEO Matt Priest. “Brands have already said tariffs will dent job growth, and shoe stores are saying it’s a job killer. We hope the president listens to Americans across the country — who are the very people growing our local economies — and stops this unnecessary trade war.”
Many companies have already begun relocating their supply chains to neighbouring countries like Vietnam, Indonesia and Mexico as costs grow within their China-based supply chains. (Some have indicated that they may be left with no choice but to raise prices for consumers.) Domestic manufacturers are also expected to be affected, considering many materials necessary for production are sourced through China and unavailable in the U.S.