On July 1, the country’s retaliatory tariffs went into effect, hitting 16.6 billion Canadian dollars ($12.5 billion) worth of U.S.-made goods. Neither footwear nor apparel made the list of products subject to an additional 25 percent or 10 percent surtax, meaning that the president’s comments last month suggesting that Canadians “smuggle” shoes from the U.S. to avoid paying tariffs remain unfounded.
The categories hit hardest include steel and aluminum products — as expected, considering the tariffs are countermeasures to the U.S.’ own decision to tax imports of the industrial metals. Also affected are American foodstuffs like maple syrup, whiskey and ketchup, as well as mattresses, washing machines, ballpoint pens and more.
“I have made it very clear to the president that it is not something we relish doing, but it is something that we absolutely will do,” said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in June. “[As] Canadians, we’re polite, we’re reasonable, but we also will not be pushed around.”
Under NAFTA, neither Canada nor the U.S. taxes shoes coming from one country to the other, but the free trade agreement is under threat. After months of contentious negotiations with Canada and Mexico, Trump has announced that he will not sign another deal ahead of the midterm elections in November. Canada stands to be particularly hard-hit by Trump’s protectionist trade policies as the largest exporter of steel to the U.S. by value.
Meanwhile, the vast majority of footwear imported to the States comes from countries such as China and Vietnam, and is subject to an average of 11.9 percent in duties, according to Pew Research Center, totaling nearly $3 billion per year.