The White House said it would delay tariffs on some imports from China as President Donald Trump faces increasing pressure from American companies.
According to the U.S. Trade Representative, Washington will postpone its 10% levy on a number of the $300 billion worth of products, such as mobile phones, laptops and toys as well as unspecified items of footwear and apparel, based on “health, safety, national security and other factors.” Originally scheduled to take effect on Sept. 1, the additional duty on some of those goods will be suspended until Dec. 15.
In a statement, the USTR indicated that the decision was a “part of USTR’s public comment and hearing process.” In mid-June, hundreds of retailers, trade organizations and industry leaders descended on Washington, D.C., to testify at public hearings on Trump’s controversial tariffs over the course of seven days. Companies including VF Corp., Shoe Carnival Inc. and Wolverine World Wide Inc. rallied against a tax that they said could hurt businesses, families and the overall U.S. economy.
Despite news of the delayed tariffs, shoe stocks generally inched downward but still remained well in the green. As of 12 p.m. ET, VF was up 1.22% to $82.93 a share, while Shoe Carnival rose 2.46% to $23.78 and Wolverine gained 1% to $25.36. The Dow Jones Industrial Average grew 1.6%, or 418 points, and the S&P 500 similarly climbed 1.6%, or roughly 48 points. The Nasdaq Composite was up nearly 2%, or 155 points.
Rick Helfenbein, president and CEO of the American Apparel and Footwear Association, remained disapproving of the Trump administration’s “destructive plan” to impose tariffs on consumer goods as well as materials used by American manufacturers.
“Make no mistake, these tariffs, including the ones imposed in earlier tranches, are paid by U.S. companies. They create costs and uncertainty, forcing companies to delay or scuttle hiring and investment decisions and, ultimately, hit the U.S. consumer,” he wrote in a statement. “Rebalancing our trade partnership with China is of critical importance, but taxing U.S. companies, U.S. consumers and the U.S. economy is not the way to achieve that goal.”
The delayed tariffs would also take place after the crucial holiday shopping season for retailers, with Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America president and CEO Matt Priest writing in a statement to FN, “It is no coincidence that the administration is allowing certain shoes to come in without raising taxes in hopes that prices do not rise at retail during the holiday.”
He added, “While we are pleased with the decision to delay new tariffs on certain shoes, we are not satisfied. We will continue to fight for any exclusions on new tariffs, and we will fight to delay new tariffs on shoes until the entire tariff threat is lifted off the backs of American families.”
As costs grow within the supply chain, many corporations have indicated that they may be left with no choice but to raise prices for consumers. Such tariffs would also affect domestic manufacturers, considering that many materials necessary for production are sourced through China and unavailable in the U.S. Tariffs would affect footwear jobs as well, with several companies already making attempts to relocate their supply chains to neighboring countries like Vietnam, Indonesia and even America’s southern neighbor, Mexico.
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