Footwear & Apparel Group Responds to Trump’s New Tariffs: ‘This Is a Very Dangerous Game to Play’

The United States’ trade war with China continues to escalate, after President Donald Trump announced yesterday that he was prepared to slap tariffs on an additional $267 billion of Chinese goods — nearly half of all the country’s imports into the U.S.

The news follows a round of tariffs on $200 billion of goods, which go into effect as soon as next week, that will start at a rate of 10 percent and rise to 25 percent at the end of the year. It will impact thousands of Chinese products, including consumer goods such as bags, hats and other accessories, as well as leather and fur materials. Textiles and machinery used for domestic manufacturing will also take a hit.

Footwear and apparel groups have condemned the move, with the American Apparel & Footwear Association releasing a statement calling the tariffs “cruel to U.S. interests.”

“We are extremely disappointed that President Trump has, once again, decided to impose a huge new tax on American consumers and manufacturers,” said president and CEO Rick Helfenbein. “[The] announcement shows a deep disregard for American businesses, American workers and American families, who will be negatively impacted by this decision. This is a very dangerous game to play, one that will not end with a winner.”

The Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America also urged the president to abandon the tariffs.

“While the Trump administration’s announcement is not a surprise, this decision will penalize Americans from every walk of life with added hidden taxes on $200 billion worth of products. Higher costs for our consumers hurts our ability to sell shoes, and this directly impacts U.S. jobs in our industry,” said president and CEO Matt Priest.

Separately, in a tweet before his announcement, Trump wrote: “Tariffs have put the U.S. in a very strong bargaining position, with Billions of Dollars, and Jobs, flowing into our Country — and yet cost increases have thus far been almost unnoticeable. If countries will not make fair deals with us, they will be ‘Tariffed!'”

He noted the day prior: “China has been taking advantage of the United States on Trade for many years. They also know that I am the one that knows how to stop it. There will be great and fast economic retaliation against China if our farmers, ranchers and/or industrial workers are targeted!”

In response, Beijing has fired back with tariffs on $60 billion worth of American products, including clothing, furniture and auto parts.

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