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AAFA Sends Letter to Biden Calling for Tariff Relief as Expensive Shipping Crunch Gets Worse

The American Apparel & Footwear Association wants President Joe Biden to hear its message loud and clear.

The Washington, D.C.-based lobbying group sent a second letter to the White House today reiterating its call for action as the shipping crisis worsens ahead of the critical back-to-school and holiday shopping seasons.

In the letter, AAFA President and CEO Steve Lamar emphasized the need for additional federal support to address the ongoing situation that has caused a “destructive cycle of lengthening delays and rocketing costs.” 

The consumer price index rose 5.4% in June as inflation grew at its fastest pace since August 2008, and transportation-related costs accounted for the bulk of the increases. Footwear prices jumped 6.5% year-over-year.

Lamar applauded efforts to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill, as well as Biden’s June executive order that directs the Federal Maritime Commission to consider additional rules to counter unfair detention and demurrage costs.

But the time to act is now, Lamar wrote. He emphasized the industry’s support for the removal of Section 301 tariffs and the renewal of the Generalized System of Preferences and Miscellaneous Tariff Bill. 

“The next several months are critical to the American retail industry, as we prepare for back-to-school and holiday shopping. If action is not taken, we risk empty shelves that would trip up our nation’s economic recovery,” Lamar said. “This week’s inflation news shows that this is already having an effect on consumers. While there are many medium and long-term actions that must be taken, the President can have an immediate impact on American small businesses and American consumers by ending the previous administration’s punitive Section 301 tariffs that continue to hamstring our industry.”

The FDRA and NRF also sent letters to Biden calling for action on the shipping situation.

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