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Reuters/Shannon Stapleton
Nike has something to say to Donald Trump.
DEAR MR. PRESIDENT

Read the letter 172 footwear companies sent to Donald Trump

By Marc Bain

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.

Sincerely,

Abeo

ACI International

adidas America, Inc.

Alan’s Shoes

Aldo USA, Inc.

Allen Edmonds

Aravon

Ariat International

ASICS America

b.o.c.

Baggallini

BBC International

Betsey Johnson

BIGSTON, INC.

Bionica Footwear

Black Diamond Group

Blondo

Blowfish Malibu

BOGS

Børn Handcrafted Footwear

Brooklyn Boot Company

Brooks Sports

Bullboxer Shoes

Bzees

Caleres

Calson Investment

Camuto Group

Carolina Footwear

Cat Footwear

CELS Enterprises, Inc

Chaco

Chinese Laundry

CL By Laundry

Clarks

Cleary’s Shoes and Boots

Cobra PUMA Golf

Columbia Sportswear

Comfortiva

Converse

Corcoran

Cove Shoe Company

Creative International

Crocs Inc.

Dearfoams

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

Dunham

E.S. Originals, Inc

Elan Polo International

Famous Footwear

Feiyue Footwear

Fila

Fireside

Florsheim Shoe Company

FN PLATFORM/Informa Markets

Foot Locker

Foot Petals

Foot Savvy

Foot Solutions of Columbia

Foot Solutions of Peachtree City

Footsmart

Fortune Footwear

FrancoSarto

Genesco

Georgie’s

Global Brands Group

H.H. Brown Shoe Co.

H.S. Trask

Hanig’s Footwear

Harley-Davidson Footwear

Hide & Sole, Inc.

HOKA ONE ONE

Hush Puppies

HYTEST

Impo International

Indigo Plum

Isolá Footwear

J. Reneé

JCPenney

Johnston & Murphy

Journeys

Justin Boots

K-Swiss

Keds

Kork-Ease

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

Matterhorn

Merrell

MIA Shoes

Michelson’s Shoes

Mike’s Shoes

Naturalizer

NIKE, Inc.

Nunn Bush

Nurse Mates

Off Broaday Shoe Warehouse

ONO

Palladium Boots

Paradox Footwear

Ped-Agree Shoes

PUMA

Rack Room Shoes

Rafters

Rawlings Sporting Goods Co., Inc.

Reebok

Reed Footwear

Reef

Renaissance Imports

Report

RG Barry Brands

Rockport

Rocky Brands, Inc.

Ryka

Sam Edelman

Sanuk

Saucony

Schuler Shoes

Schwartz & Benjamin

SG Companies

Shoe Carnival

Shoe Fly

Shoe Mill

Shoe Station, Inc.

Shoe Stop

Skechers

Snowden Brothers

Söfft Shoe Company

softspots

Sole Endeavor LLC

Sorel

Sperry

Stacy Adams

Stan’s Fit For Your Feet

Steve Madden

Stride Rite

Strikeforce Bowling LLC

SUPRA Footwear

Synclaire Brands

Teva

The Bootery Ltd.

The Walking Company

Titan Industries Inc.

Tony Lama Boots

Topline Footwear

Ugg

Under Armour

Via Spiga

Vionic

Walk-Over Footwear

Weyco Group

When the Shoe Fits

Wolverine Worldwide

Xero Shoes

42 Gold

 

CC:

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