Hours after President Donald Trump signed an historic $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill, his administration might soon make another important move that could help footwear firms at a critical time.
The Wall Street Journal, citing an U.S. official, is reporting that custom duties will be suspended for three months.
“This is something I asked the Trump administration to do over two weeks ago,” said Matt Priest, president and CEO of Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America. “If these reports are true, this is welcome news for our companies and workers during this historic crisis. Our industry’s leadership is working tirelessly, day and night, to create liquidity for their companies to try and ensure that when this is all said and done, they emerge ready to get back to work selling shoes and employing thousands of Americans.”
Priest called on Trump and his team to release details about the duty deferment as quickly as possible. The tariff issue has been at the top of the footwear agenda for the past several years amid countless developments in the US-China trade relationship.
While today’s stimulus package was good news for the industry, it has been a brutal week as vendors and retailers grapple with continued store closures.
The key elements of stimulus measure include $500 billion for loans, loan guarantees or other assistance to businesses, states and municipalities, as well as $349 billion for the Small Business Administration to guarantee loans to companies and nonprofits with fewer than 500 employees.