Reps. Joseph Crowley (D., N.Y.) and Kevin Brady (R., Texas) reintroduced legislation in the House of Representatives that would eliminate duties on certain types of lower-priced and children’s footwear.
The duty-dropping legislation would eliminate some $800 million in tariffs, or about 40% of the total duties the U.S. collects, on footwear imports annually. Footwear companies have argued that the tariffs are a “regressive tax” and that the bill would act as a “tax cut” for consumers. A companion bill was introduced in the Senate earlier this year, but did not advance.
The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) applauded the bill (H.R. 4316), noting that a similar piece of legislation (S. 730), sponsored by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and John Ensign (R-NV) and strongly supported by AAFA, is currently pending in the U.S. Senate and has 15 additional Senate bipartisan cosponsors.
“With all of Washington’s talk about strengthening the U.S. economy, the Affordable Footwear Act is a quick and easy way to bring immediate relief to hardworking American families,” said AAFA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke. “The Affordable Footwear Act would help pass along over $2 billion in instant savings to American consumers while jumpstarting shoe sales.”
American consumers pay upwards of 40% beyond the cost of a pair of shoes to cover the import duty, or shoe tax. In reality, the tax is unavoidable because 99% of the shoes purchased each year in the United States are produced outside of the United States. Moreover, the highest import duties, as high as 67%, are on the lowest-cost shoes.