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China’s Footwear Imports to the US Decline as Vietnam’s Shipments Jump

China was the only country of the top five suppliers of footwear imports to the U.S.–making up 89 percent of all shipments–to post a decline in value January, as Vietnam, Indonesia, Italy and Cambodia all gained ground.

U.S. imports of footwear from China fell 6.4 percent to $1.31 billion worth of merchandise in January, compared to $1.4 billion a year earlier, according to the monthly report from the Commerce Department’s Office of Textiles & Apparel (OTEXA). China didn’t fare any better in volume terms in the month. China shipped 166.95 million pairs of footwear to the U.S. in the month compared 190.07 million pairs in January 2018, a decline of 12.2 percent.

OTEXA reported that footwear imports from Vietnam jumped 14.2 percent to $619.48 million in the first month of the year. This marked an increase in shipments from Vietnam for 32 of the last 33 months, according to the Footwear Distributors of America (FDRA).

Asian competitors Indonesia and Cambodia posted gains of 19.4 percent to $167.72 million and 24.9 percent to $40.3 million. Footwear shipments to the U.S. from Italy, a major supplier of upscale merchandise, rose 2.6 percent year-to-year in January to a value of $126.25 million.

Overall, footwear imports rose 1.63 percent to kick off the year to reach a value of $2.49 billion. In volume terms, footwear imports for the month stepped down 5.3 percent to 244.23 million pairs compared to 257.29 million pairs in January 2018.

FDRA noted in its monthly analysis that import duties increased to $290.7 million in January, the second-largest month on record, even as the U.S. and China continue to negotiate an end to the tariff-fueled trade war.

China remains the dominant footwear supplier to the U.S. with a 69 percent market share, but second-place FDRA noted that extending its place as the largest supplier of rubber/fabric footwear to the U.S.

Athletic footwear imports increased 10.9 percent in January, while bootwear shipments rose 9.1 percent, with major hikes from Vietnam and Indonesia.