Even Santa Claus has to pay footwear taxes and tariffs on his shiny black boots, according to the Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America (FDRA).
With the holiday season in full swing, the FDRA has ramped up its efforts to engage and activate the industry around reducing shoe taxes and tariffs.
The FDRA points out that “Santas in malls across the country are paying an additional 20 percent hidden import tax on their boots, [and] elves are not excluded — they face the same rates.”
“While duty is paid by the importer, it has a impact on the consumer,” said FDRA President Matt Priest. “While everyone is thinking about shopping and extending their holiday budgets as far as possible, we thought it was a good idea to get them engaged in an effort [that involves the] Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and perhaps lower and eliminate duties on a lot of footwear products and make some types of shoes cheaper.”
The FDRA has asked “everyone in the footwear industry” to submit a letter urging Congress to “closely review the TPP agreement and consider the positive impact it could have on U.S. footwear consumers.”
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According to the FDRA, footwear is hit with some of the highest tariffs of any consumer good — with rates as high as 67.5 percent — while 99 percent of all footwear sold in the U.S. is imported. Those charges are built into the final cost of shoes sold across the country, the FDRA says, meaning they impact most consumers.
The U.S. and 11 other Pacific Rim countries reached a deal on TPP, the region’s largest trade deal in its history, back in early October. The sweeping trade agreement is expected to reduce or eliminate tariffs for footwear and apparel and will be reviewed by Congress next year.
“Our goal is 10,000 letters by the time TPP is being considered on Capitol Hill some time next year,” Priest said. “We’ve already surpassed the 1,000 letter mark.”