Last week, President Donald Trump proposed a tariff increase which would result in a 25 percent hike on Chinese imports including sneakers. At the time, President and CEO of the Footwear Distribution and Retailers of America (FDRA) Matt Priest was among those who spoke out against the proposal, saying the tariff would result in an "unavoidable" retail price increase for consumers.
Now, in a letter from the FDRA, which was signed by nearly 200 brands including Adidas, Asics, Converse, Foot Locker, Nike, Puma, Reebok, and Under Armour, is asking that Trump "immediately remove footwear" from the group of items up for consideration. The FDRA argues that the tariff would "be catastrophic for our consumers, our companies, and the American economy as a whole."
According to a statement issued by the FDRA, the footwear industry already runs up a staggering $3 billion in import duties each year, a portion of which is built into the retail price of every shoe. However, if Trump's latest modification is passed, the FDRA estimates it would add an additional $7 billion in duties. "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," the FDRA writes.
Despite the seemingly overwhelming support for the FDRA's cause, New Balance was noticeably absent from the list of signees. The brand has previously aligned with Trump's trade views dude to their emphasis on U.S. manufacturing. Sole Collector's request for comment from New Balance was not immediately returned.
"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," wrote the FDRA. "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."
UPDATE (08/28): CNN reports that the FDRA has once again sent a letter to President Trump asking him to reconsider pending Chinese import tariffs. Set to go begin Sunday, Sept. 1, the new tariffs will see import rates for consumer goods jump from 10 to 15 percent.
"It is vitally important that the President knows his new taxes are going to hurt both their employees and families who buy shoes," Priest said. "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."
Although the new tariffs be put into action on Sunday, they will have a delayed effect, as the President has decided to make many items duty-free until mid-December in effort to bolster holiday spending.