Footwear firms tell Trump to cancel tariffs

More than 200 footwear companies wrote a letter to the White House on Wednesday urging President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump's top adviser on Asia to serve as deputy national security adviser United Auto Workers strike against GM poised to head into eighth day Trump doubles down on call to investigate Biden after whistleblower complaint: 'That's the real story' MORE to cancel tariff hikes on Chinese imports slated to take effect next month.

The letter, organized by the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA), said the tariffs are tantamount to taxing American consumers and will hurt working class families.

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“There is no doubt that tariffs act as hidden taxes paid by American individuals and families. When import costs rise and fall on imported footwear – whether based on the price of materials, transportation, labor, or tariffs – those cost increases or savings are almost immediately passed on to consumers,” the companies wrote.

“Imposing tariffs in September on the majority of all footwear products from China — including nearly every type of leather shoe — will make it impossible for hardworking American individuals and families to escape the harm that comes from these tax increases,” they added. 

Footwear giants like Adidas and Footlocker signed the letter, saying that the 15 percent tariff will cost consumers an additional $4 billion every year, citing an FDRA estimate.

Though tariffs on some Chinese goods are not scheduled to take effect until Dec. 15, the letter says the majority of footwear lines will be affected by a slate of tariffs being implemented next month. The letter claims the tariffs would come on top of existing levies averaging 11 percent on some shoes.

“We are very concerned that this tariff action will create further economic uncertainty,” the firms wrote. “When consumers have less money to spend, we sell fewer shoes and this hurts U.S. businesses.”

President Trump this month announced a 15 percent tariff on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods starting Sept. 1 and Dec. 15 as the trade war with Beijing intensifies. The move came in response to China’s announcement of new tariffs on $75 billion worth of U.S. goods.

Though the latest salvo has rattled markets, the president told reporters this month he had to intervene to fix the U.S.’s trade relationship with China.

“Whether it’s good for our country or bad for our country, short term, it had to be done,” Trump said. “Someone had to take on what China was doing to the United States economically.”