Hundreds of U.S. companies, including more than 50 shoe brands, banded together today to send a letter to the Trump administration opposing new tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods.
The letter — signed by brands such as Nike, Crocs and Adidas, and retailers including DSW, Journeys and Famous Footwear — follows Thursday’s conclusion of the administration’s consultation period over the imposition of those tariffs.
“We cannot simply shift our supply chains outside of China without massive disruption and cost increases due to materials availability, quality, compliance and capacity in other countries,” said the letter, addressed to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. “Moreover, because China accounts for such a large percentage of imports for consumption or further manufacturing, any additional tariffs would likely translate into added costs and price increases in the United States.”
The plea by scores of U.S. retail firms also called out “millions of U.S. jobs” in the industry’s global value chains, “including those in research and design, supply chain, manufacturing, compliance, logistics and retail” that they warn would be put at risk if a new 10 percent or 25 percent tax were imposed. (The proposed taxes on imports from the mainland could be set at 10 percent or 25 percent — depending on a recommendation by the U.S. trade representative.)
“Even though footwear is not on the third list proposed by the Trump administration, many other consumer goods and production machinery is at risk, driving up prices for all American consumers,” said Matt Priest, president and CEO of the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America. “Higher costs for our consumers hurts our ability to sell more shoes, and that impacts jobs in our industry. As footwear companies made clear in the letter today, new hidden taxes that touch every single American consumer is simply the wrong approach.”
The new tariffs reportedly affect as much as half of all Chinese exports to the U.S. They would mark the latest round of tariffs doled out by President Donald Trump this year. In July, his administration imposed a 25 percent levy on $34 billion in Chinese goods. And last month, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced that another $16 billion worth of Chinese imports would be subject to levies of 25 percent. China was also among the countries hit with sweeping steel and aluminum tariffs in March.
The new round of levies could be imposed as early as today.