Affordable Footwear Act Gains Momentum

The Affordable Footwear Act has a new supporter in the House of Representatives — Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.) — marking the bill’s 50th co-sponsor in the House.

The AFA, which would eliminate about $800 million in import duties on certain types of footwear — primarily lower-priced styles including children’s and work shoes — was originally introduced in March 2009 but not enacted. It was reintroduced in late July 2011.

“Now we are in the process of seeing how the trade agenda moves forward in 2012,” said Matt Priest, president of the Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America, which has lobbied for the act alongside other organizations such as the American Apparel & Footwear Association. “Election years are notorious for not getting a lot of things done, but we are confident that at some point there will be a trade package to which the Affordable Footwear Act will be attached.”

Priest added that his association does not anticipate the act moving forward on its own. “There will be a broader trade bill [put together by the House Committee on Ways and Means] that incorporates [the AFA and] other initiatives,” he said.

The addition of a 50th co-sponsor in the House is a sign that the act has a strong chance of being included, according to Priest.

“To hit that 50 mark is an important milestone,” he said. “It shows really strong bipartisan support. We have members from all different political stripes and walks of life and all different parts of the country who are in favor of a bill that would make shoes more affordable for all American consumers.”

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