Apparel and Footwear Industry Decries President’s Decision to Move Forward with Unnecessary Tax on American Consumers

August 1, 2019 | WASHINGTON, D.C.

The apparel and footwear industry expressed its deep frustration following the announcement by President Donald J. Trump that he will direct his administration to impose a punitive 10% tariff on a list of $300 billion worth of U.S. imports from China beginning September 1. 

“Tariffs are taxes on American consumers. The President’s decision to proceed with adding these additional costs for hard-working American families is truly shocking,” said Rick Helfenbein, president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association. “This decision will increase the tariff bill on all clothes, shoes, and home textiles, like blankets and sheets – products that already account for the vast majority of the duties collected by the U.S. government. The fact that this tweet comes after only one meeting with the Chinese delegation following the resumption of talks is extremely concerning. It is time for Congress to step up and take back its authority to manage international trade as outlined under the U.S. Constitution.” 

The list of products, which was under a public comment period in June, includes all imports of apparel and footwear products. In 2018, 42% of apparel and 69% of footwear sold in the U.S. was imported from China. The punitive tariff would be added on top of the tariffs already imposed on these products – in 2017, 51% of the duties collected by the U.S. government came from the apparel, footwear, textiles, and travel goods industry, despite accounting for only 6% of all imports. Most textiles, all travel goods, and many accessories are currently being hit with a 25% additional tariff as part of previous steps taken by the administration in the trade conflict with China.