Over 170 shoe retailers including major ones like Nike (NKE), Under Armour (UAA), Adidas, Foot Locker (FL), Ugg, and Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse have sent a letter requesting President Donald Trump to consider removing the additional tariff on footwear imported from China.
The request follows the release of a fresh list of about $300 billion in Chinese goods on which 25% tariff would be added if Trump decides to prolong the U.S.-China trade dispute. The list includes every aspect of footwear-from sneakers to sandals, golf shoes, rain boots, and ski shoes.
The Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA) has estimated a loss of more than $7 billion each year for the shoe industry if the tariffs are imposed and continued.
According to FDRA, a popular type of canvas “skate” sneaker, currently retailing for $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.
Currently, U.S tariffs on all consumer goods average just 1.9% and footwear accounts for 11.3%. But these rates may reach as high as 67.5% if an additional 25% tax is imposed on top of these existing tariffs. This will also mean some working American families could pay a nearly 100% duty on their shoes which is simply outrageous.
Last year, the U.S. imported $11.4 billion worth of footwear from China. The U.S. is heavily reliant on the country for its skilled yet cheap labor. Right now, retailers like Nike, Adidas and Under Armour have decided to shift production base from China to places like Vietnam. However, the letter also underscored that footwear is a capital intensive industry and simply removing production base is not the solution.
The letter is yet to receive a response from the other end.