How the Footwear Industry Is Reacting to Trump’s New $200B China Tariffs Threat

Footwear manufacturers, retailers and leaders are speaking out against President Donald Trump’s latest threat to impose an additional 10 percent in tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

The Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America, American Apparel & Footwear Association and the Sports & Fitness Industry Association issued separate statements urging the president to reconsider the tariff hikes, which the industry collectively claims would adversely affect American businesses and consumers.

“It’s very difficult to see how this doesn’t negatively impact all Americans of every walk of life,” FDRA president and CEO Matt Priest told FN. “The president claimed that trade wars are easy to win, but what our industry has always known is coming true: Trade wars are costly, unnecessary and do harm to the American economy. The footwear industry calls on the Trump administration to show real leadership and declare a cease-fire to this self-inflicted conflict.”

Trump’s comments came just days after he announced a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports, sparking fears of a trade war between two of the world’s leading economies and forcing Beijing to retaliate with its own set of levies.

AAFA president and CEO Rick Helfenbein criticized Trump’s decision-making process. “The president is increasing his ‘Trump tax’ without asking for input from Congress and thus raising the cost for American consumers,” he said. “Tariffs are a hidden, regressive tax that raise prices, lower sales and hurt American employment. Rather than letting this continue, it is time for Congress to utilize its power to regulate commerce with foreign nations, as outlined in the constitution. Tariffs do not work. Nobody wins.”

According to a report published by the United States Trade Representative, the tariffs will affect Chinese products “containing industrially significant technologies” such as aerospace, information technology, robotics, machinery and automobiles.

Although it will not explicitly raise costs for footwear, apparel, sports equipment and fitness products, SFIA president and CEO Tom Cove declared that the “strain of explosive tariff threats back and forth strikes at the foundation of our economy.”

“We believe all parties need to step back from the brink of a destabilizing and dangerous trade war and return to the negotiating table to address the important challenges presented by a complex global economy,” he said. “This situation will have a negative impact on U.S. jobs and businesses and consumer spending. The bottom line is, everyone loses in a trade war.”

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