More than 170 shoe retailers, including Nike, Under Armour, Adidas, Foot Locker, Ugg and Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse, have penned a letter to the White House asking President Donald Trump to consider a halt in raising tariffs on footwear imported from China.
It comes after the White House last week released a fresh list of about $300 billion in Chinese goods that could get hit with 25% tariffs, if Trump decides to move forward with his threat. The list includes footwear — everything from sneakers to sandals, golf shoes, rain boots and ski shoes.
The Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America, a trade organization for its industry, has estimated the tariffs could cost shoe shoppers more than $7 billion each year.
FDRA said 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.
In a letter sent to Trump on Monday, dozens of retailers asked him to “immediately remove footwear” from being considered for additional taxation.
“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,” the letter said. “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 incredible reliant on the country for its cheaper yet skilled labor.
Nike, Adidas and Under Armour, among other sneaker makers, have steadily been easing their reliance on China, shifting production to places like Vietnam instead.
But “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,” the letter sent to Trump said.