The Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA) revealed last week the footwear industry paid nearly $2.7 billion in footwear tariffs to the U.S. government in 2014, an all-time high and a 6.6% increase from 2013.
With 99 percent of all shoes sold in the U.S. imported, the FDRA said the record-breaking amount is a reminder to Congress to pass Trade Promotion Authority and for President Obama to ensure that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other trade initiatives are enacted. FDRA reported duties collected on shoes from TPP countries increased 24 percent in 2014.
“It is clear from our industry that duty relief is important for job growth and economic expansion,” said FDRA president Matt Priest.
Greg Tunney, RG Barry Brands president and CEO, and FDRA chairman, called the tariffs “job killers” and said the tariffs are impeding footwear brands ability to expand economic opportunities. “Worse, they raise prices on consumers and make us less competitive against other companies and brands around the world,” Tunney said. “We need Congress to support TPA and TPP so the footwear industry and American consumers can find relief and become more globally competitive.”
For brands that want to deliver value and quality, the tariffs prove to be problematic. “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, Wolverine Worldwide chairman, president and CEO. “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,” Krueger said. “It is a win-win situation and I urge Congress to support the agreement.”