The Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA), the footwear’s industry’s trade association, announced that tariffs on footwear hit another all time high. In 2014, the footwear industry paid $2.67 billion in footwear tariffs to the U.S. government. This is a 6.6 percent increase over 2013 is far higher than the U.S. footwear industry’s 2014 U.S. sales growth as a percent.
With 99 percent of all shoes sold in the U.S. imported, these tariffs do nothing more than drive up costs for American consumers and footwear businesses alike. Today’s announcement is another reminder of the importance of Congress quickly passing Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) for President Obama, ensuring that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other trade initiatives are finalized and enacted duties collected on footwear from TPP countries was up an astounding 24 percent in 2014.
“These tariffs are job killers, reducing our revenues and impacting our ability to expand economic opportunity. Worse, they raise prices on consumers and make us less competitive against other companies and brands around the world,” said Greg Tunney, president and CEO of RG Barry Brands and FDRA Chairman. “We need Congress to support TPA and TPP so the footwear industry and American consumers can find relief and become more globally competitive.”
“We constantly strive to design and build the very best products, all the while working to provide our consumers the best value,” said Blake W. Krueger, Chairman, CEO & President of Wolverine Worldwide. “These tariffs amount to a hidden tax. If we can get these duties removed through TPP we can ultimately provide an even better value to our consumers, and at the same time create more jobs across the country. It is a win-win situation and I urge Congress to support the agreement.”
“We are a proud domestic manufacturer of footwear, employing more than 130 workers at our Danner factory in Portland, Oregon. Passing TPA and TPP removes outdated tariffs and helps fuel demand for USA-made boots among partner countries,” says Quinn O’Rourke, Director of Compliance and Logistics at LaCrosse Footwear, Inc. “In addition, we save on the footwear lines we produce in Vietnam, which allows us to reinvest the duty-free savings back into our American factory and American workers. We urge Congress to pass TPA and support TPP.”
“It is clear from our industry that duty relief is important for job growth and economic expansion,” said FDRA President Matt Priest. “We are supportive of President Obama’s efforts to negotiate the TPP and encouraged that many leaders on Capitol Hill are pushing for Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). We call on all Members of Congress to work together and pass TPA immediately.”