AAFA Condemns Administration’s No-Strategy Tariff Policy

August 23, 2019 | WASHINGTON, D.C.

Rick Helfenbein, president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association, issued the following statement after today’s tweet by President Donald J. Trump that he would increase tariffs on $250 billion to 30% and the remaining $300 billion to 15%

“Clearly the Trump administration’s use of tit-for-tat tariff hikes are not part of any coherent strategy for China. For two and a half years we have been promised a new and innovative approach, yet what we’ve been given is a 1930s trade strategy that will be a disaster for American consumers, American businesses, and the American economy,” said Helfenbein. “Meanwhile, the President has said he wants American businesses to stop working in China, yet he doesn’t seem to understand that moving a supply chain is incredibly complicated and expensive. It takes years to build relationships that meet compliance standards and deliver quality products, yet we have been given weeks and in this case days.

“This is not how you negotiate. This is tit-for-tat exercise that is hurting Americans and distracting from the task at hand – creating a sustainable trade agreement that solves long-standing and deep-seated issues. The administration needs to rise above the fray and start negotiating for the American people.”

On August 15, AAFA released analysis showing that 77% of U.S. imports of apparel, footwear, and home textiles from China appear on the administration’s list of products that will be hit with an additional tariff on September 1. This is despite claims by the administration that it had delayed many tariffs on holiday goods until December 15 to protect American consumers.