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Read the letter 172 footwear companies sent to Donald Trump

Reuters/Shannon Stapleton
Nike has something to say to Donald Trump.
By Marc Bain
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

The US footwear industry is pushing back against Donald Trump after the latest move in his trade war against China.

In a letter to the president, most major footwear companies operating in the US—including Nike, Adidas, Converse, Foot Locker, Skechers, Dr Martens, Dr. Scholls, Allen Edmonds, Wolverine Worldwide, and many, many more—have asked that Trump remove footwear from the list of Chinese imports to be hit with an additional tariff of up to 25%. The proposed tariff, they say, would be “catastrophic for our consumers, our companies, and the American economy as a whole.” A total of 172 companies signed the letter.

Trump had instructed the US on May 10 to begin putting additional tariffs of up to 25% on essentially all products from China. The country is by far the largest producer of shoes sold in the US, and the additional tariff could raise prices significantly. Footwear brands, which already pay much higher duties on their imports than other retail sectors, would be forced to eat the expense themselves or, more likely, increase their prices. Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA), a trade group representing the industry, estimated that a typical pair of sneakers could jump from $48 to $61, while a pair of boots might see its cost rise from $67 to $97.

The FDRA published a copy of the letter, along with every brand that signed it. Have a look:


May 20, 2019
The Honorable Donald J. Trump
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President: As leading American footwear companies, brands and retailers, with hundreds of thousands of employees across the U.S., we write to ask that you immediately remove footwear from the most recent Section 301 list published by the United States Trade Representative on May 13, 2019. The proposed additional tariff of 25 percent on footwear would be catastrophic for our consumers, our companies, and the American economy as a whole.
There should be no misunderstanding that U.S. consumers pay for tariffs on products that are imported. 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.
This significant tax increase, in the form of tariffs, would impact every type of shoe and every single segment of our society. In fact, our industry’s trade association, the Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America (FDRA), ran the numbers and the results are staggering. FDRA estimates your proposed actions will add $7 billion in additional costs for our customers, every single year. This dramatic increase would be on top of the billions Americans already pay as a result of the current tariff burden on footwear imports that was started in 1930.
High footwear tariff rates fall disproportionately on working class individuals and families. While U.S. tariffs on all consumer goods average just 1.9 percent, they average 11.3 percent for footwear and reach rates as high as 67.5 percent. Adding a 25 percent tax increase on top of these tariffs would mean some working American families could pay a nearly 100 percent duty on their shoes. This is unfathomable.
There have been suggestions that industries should quickly shift sourcing to countries other than China in the wake of these additional tariff threats. While our industry has been moving away from China for some time now, footwear is a very capital-intensive industry, with years of planning required to make sourcing decisions, and companies cannot simply move factories to adjust to these changes. Any action taken to increase duties on Chinese footwear will have an immediate and long-lasting effect on American individuals and families. It will also threaten the very economic viability of many companies in our industry.
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.
ACI International
adidas America, Inc.
Alan’s Shoes
Aldo USA, Inc.
Allen Edmonds
Ariat International
ASICS America
BBC International
Betsey Johnson
Bionica Footwear
Black Diamond Group
Blowfish Malibu
Børn Handcrafted Footwear
Brooklyn Boot Company
Brooks Sports
Bullboxer Shoes
Calson Investment
Camuto Group
Carolina Footwear
Cat Footwear
CELS Enterprises, Inc
Chinese Laundry
CL By Laundry
Cleary’s Shoes and Boots
Cobra PUMA Golf
Columbia Sportswear
Cove Shoe Company
Creative International
Crocs Inc.
Deckers Brands
Deer Stags
Designer Shoe Warehouse
Dexter Bowling Footwear
Diba Far East, LLC
Dirty Laundry
Dockers Footwear
Dolce Vita
Double H Boots
Dr Martens AirWair USA LLC
Dr. Scholls
E.S. Originals, Inc
Elan Polo International
Famous Footwear
Feiyue Footwear
Florsheim Shoe Company
FN PLATFORM/Informa Markets
Foot Locker
Foot Petals
Foot Savvy
Foot Solutions of Columbia
Foot Solutions of Peachtree City
Fortune Footwear
Global Brands Group
H.H. Brown Shoe Co.
H.S. Trask
Hanig’s Footwear
Harley-Davidson Footwear
Hide & Sole, Inc.
Hush Puppies
Impo International
Indigo Plum
Isolá Footwear
J. Reneé
Johnston & Murphy
Justin Boots
Korks Footwear
L.A. Gear, Inc.
L’Amour Des Pieds
LaCrosse Footwear, Inc.
Laundry List
Leif J. Ostberg, Inc.
Life Stride
Little Burgandy
Lucky Feet Shoes
Mar-Lou Shoes, Inc.
Market Street Shoes
MIA Shoes
Michelson’s Shoes
Mike’s Shoes
NIKE, Inc.
Nunn Bush
Nurse Mates
Off Broaday Shoe Warehouse
Palladium Boots
Paradox Footwear
Ped-Agree Shoes
Rack Room Shoes
Rawlings Sporting Goods Co., Inc.
Reed Footwear
Renaissance Imports
RG Barry Brands
Rocky Brands, Inc.
Sam Edelman
Schuler Shoes
Schwartz & Benjamin
SG Companies
Shoe Carnival
Shoe Fly
Shoe Mill
Shoe Station, Inc.
Shoe Stop
Snowden Brothers
Söfft Shoe Company
Sole Endeavor LLC
Stacy Adams
Stan’s Fit For Your Feet
Steve Madden
Stride Rite
Strikeforce Bowling LLC
SUPRA Footwear
Synclaire Brands
The Bootery Ltd.
The Walking Company
Titan Industries Inc.
Tony Lama Boots
Topline Footwear
Under Armour
Via Spiga
Walk-Over Footwear
Weyco Group
When the Shoe Fits
Wolverine Worldwide
Xero Shoes
42 Gold
The Honorable Robert Lighthizer, United States Trade Representative
The Honorable Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury
The Honorable Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce
The Honorable Larry Kudlow, Director, National Economic Council

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