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Ending Trump tariffs on footwear, Americans paid 3.4 billion dollars more for shoes in 2021

By Don-Alvin Adegeest

May 9, 2022

Retail

Image: Rubirosa footwear, courtesy of the brand

America’s retailers are hoping to turn back the Trump administration’s ruling additional tariffs on Chinese goods under Section 301 of the Trade Act, as prices continue to soar due to inflation.

Earlier this year the Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America (FDRA) sent an open letter for the Biden government to lift the restrictive tariffs, which results in higher prices in some categories, such as shoes.

Americans paid 3.4bn dollars more for shoes in 2021

America imports 99 percent of its shoes from abroad, paying 3.4 billion dollars in tariffs in 2021 alone. While tariffs vary greatly depending on certain styles and make, footwear has an average tariff of 13 percent, rising to 48 percent and 67.5 percent on specific categories.

The FDRA argues that imposed tariffs make shoes more expensive at retail, “hitting working families the hardest as lower cost basic shoes face significantly higher tariffs than men’s leather dress shoes (8.5 percent).”

Matt Priest, president and CEO of the FDRA, wrote in a letter to the Biden administration to ask for a temporary relief of tariffs, at least until Labor Day in September.

The U.S. tariff code for footwear is a complex and complicated construct of codes with 436 descriptions covering the footwear category. Everything from material, make and gender is considered. The FDRA is keen to simplify import protocols and classifications and uphold more objective standards in the future.

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