Apparel and Footwear Group CEO Reacts to Trump Administration Escalation of Trade Dispute with China

July 10, 2018 | WASHINGTON, D.C.


Rick Helfenbein, president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association, indicated that the American consumer is being targeted by the Trump administration’s decision to escalate tensions by identifying an additional $200 billion worth of U.S. imports from China to be assessed with punitive tariffs. The list includes numerous textile, accessory, and travel goods products that will directly impact the apparel and footwear industry and its retail partners.

“This move by the Trump administration, though expected, will not do anything to help American workers, American consumers, or American businesses,” said Helfenbein. “By including items such as handbags, hats, and textiles on this additional list of products, the administration has shown that it is not concerned about targeting the American public with its ‘Trump Tax.’ This will result in inflationary costs throughout the supply chain, ultimately paid for by American consumers.

“With more than 84 percent of U.S. travel goods coming from China, this will hurt enormously. The administration backed us into the corner with several months’ worth of tariffs – if this continues, it has the potential to severely impact our apparel, accessory, and footwear community. As an industry, we are already highly taxed and regulated.

“We urge the administration to refocus on resolving the underlying issue with China, rather than finding new and creative ways to tax Americans. If the administration refuses to work on behalf of the American public, Congress must exercise its Article I Section 8 powers to regulate commerce with foreign nations.”