FDRA Asks President Biden to Eliminate Shoe Tariffs Through Labor Day 2022

Soaring tariffs are worsening an already inflationary environment, especially when it comes to consumer goods like footwear. Now, some business groups are urging the White House to take action.

In an open letter to President Biden on March 1, Matt Priest, president and CEO of the Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America (FDRA), asked for the elimination of tariffs on shoes and other basic consumer goods through Labor Day 2022 in order to “truly attack inflation successfully.”

“Bold steps are needed to help American families before stagflation takes hold,” Priest wrote. “Eliminating tariff collections through summer will reduce prices on staples and give us a real shot at keeping our economy on track.”

Footwear prices are currently seeing record-high levels of inflation, with shoes prices growing 6% in January year over year, according to data from the FDRA. This marked one of the fastest gains in decades, though the FDRA, expects to see prices continue to rise throughout 2022, especially if tariffs on imported goods remain. According to FDRA, these tariffs, which can be as high as 48% on certain shoes, translate into massive price increases at retail. The problem is compounded by the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, which is causing spiking prices on commodities like oil and food in the U.S.

In recent months, FDRA and other industry groups have been lobbying the Biden administration to roll back many restrictive tariffs introduced by the Trump Administration, including parts of Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. Last week, FDRA sent an open letter to the Biden administration’s council of economic advisors urging the president to strike down the 301 tariffs on consumer goods that are causing prices on certain items (like shoes) to spike.

In August, FDRA joined with the American Apparel and Footwear Association and several other retail organizations to file a “friend of the court” amicus brief in the U.S. Court of International Trade, arguing that the List 3 and List 4A tariffs imposed by Trump under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 were unlawful. In October, FDRA sent a letter to the The White House asking to eliminate tariffs on children’s footwear and give parents a break amid rapidly rising prices on consumer goods.

“Our companies continue to pay higher input and supply chain costs, which are passed along to consumers,” said Priest in a statement. “Tariffs are one of the few things the government can control, and the administration should act with speed.”

Access exclusive content