Apparel and footwear products will still face new tariffs, now it will just happen in two waves—first on Sept. 1 as planned, and the rest on Dec. 15, which would allow for holiday merchandise stock to roll in first.
After announcing early Tuesday that it would altogether eliminate some products from the list of Chinese goods that will face new 10 percent tariffs and delay the implementation of others, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) released the lists delineating which would be which.
And the list of apparel and footwear products remaining as Sept. 1 targets—known as List 4A—is so exhaustive, the collective sigh of relief the industry may have breathed early Tuesday was perhaps for naught.
For women’s and girls’ apparel, items on the list set to be subject to new tariffs in a little more than two weeks include: some overcoats, car coats, capes, anoraks, suits, blazers, trousers, shorts, blouses, skirts, dresses, nightdresses, pajamas, bathrobes, briefs, panties.
Men’s and boys’ garments on the initial list include: some overcoats, suits, suit-type jackets, anoraks, recreational performance outerwear, windbreakers, trousers, breeches, shorts, overalls, underpants and briefs, nightshirts, pajamas
For baby clothing, most garments and clothing accessories, whether knitted or crocheted and in nearly all fabrications, made the list.
Across categories, T-shirts, tank tops, sweaters, pullovers, track suits, swimwear, socks and gloves are just some of the items on List 4A.
Footwear didn’t fare much better with regard to benefitting from the tariff delay.
Waterproof footwear, ski boots, sports footwear, footwear that covers the ankle and footwear that doesn’t cover the ankle, sandals, protective active footwear, golf shoes, leather footwear, disposable footwear and formed uppers for footwear made from textile materials, leather, or any material other than leather, all made the list.
List 4B, which will face tariffs as of Dec. 15, is a much shorter list (a 21-page document versus the 122 pages of List 4A).
Apparel items that will enjoy the three-month delay, include certain outerwear and jackets, largely made up of synthetic or artificial fibers. Though items like men’s and boys’ suits containing 36 percent or more wool or fine animal hair, are also on the list.
For footwear, items like sports footwear with rubber or plastic outer soles, valued not over $3/pair, and ankle covering footwear with rubber or plastic outer soles valued over $12/pair, will see tariffs delayed until December.
While some footwear won’t face any additional punitive taxes, the Footwear Distributors & Retailers Association (FDRA) isn’t satisfied with what’s been omitted.
“It’s no coincidence that the Administration is allowing certain shoes to come in without raising taxes in hopes that prices do not rise at retail during the holidays,” FDRA president and CEO Matt Priest said Tuesday. “We will continue to fight for any exclusions on new tariffs and we will fight to delay new tariffs on shoes until the entire tariff threat is lifted off the backs of American families.”
News of apparel’s fixture as a target for the Trump administration’s efforts to right its trade relations with China, came as welcome news for the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO).
“As U.S. manufacturers that have suffered enormously from China’s illegal IPR activities and state-sponsored export subsidies, we strongly support the administration’s decision to move forward with this next tranche of 301 retaliatory tariffs that will finally cover a significant portion of China’s exports in our sector,” NCTO president and CEO Kim Glas said in a statement following the release of the lists. “We also believe that the inclusion of products that are within significant Chinese employment sectors like finished apparel, will substantially increase the administration’s negotiating leverage with the Chinese to address systemic trade reforms that are needed. Any such settlement must include short-and long-term reforms that eliminate China’s predatory trade practices in key industrial sectors across the board, such as textiles and apparel.”