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Apparel and Footwear industry opposes tariffs against China in letter to Trump

By Marjorie van Elven

18 Jun 2019

Business

Three organizations representing the American fashion, accessories and footwear industry, namely the American Apparel & Footwear Association, the Council of Fashion Designers of America and the Accessories Council, have penned a letter to president Donald Trump to manifest their opposition to the proposed 25 percent tariff increase on textiles, clothing, shoes and accessories coming from China. The letter, which is co-signed by 138 companies and 190 executives from the sector, comes just a few days after a similar letter, penned by over 600 companies including Walmart and Target, was sent to the White House.

Ascena Retail Group, Carter’s, Delta Galil, Gap Inc, Global Brands Group, Levi Strauss & Co, PacSun, PVH Corp, Ralph Lauren, Steve Madden, Shoe Carnival, Under Armour and VF Corporation are some of the companies co-signing the letter.

Fashion industry says new tariffs would have “catastrophic” effect

“The mere threat of these tariffs has already upended supply chains in our industry as executives are scrambling to find ways to mitigate the very real damage that an additional 25 percent tariff will have on our industry, and our 4 million American workers. This challenge is made even more difficult given the very high tariffs this industry already pays. In 2018, our industries paid more than 18 billion dollars in tariffs, representing nearly 40 percent of all tariffs collected by the U.S. government, yet we accounted for only about 6 percent of all U.S. imports”, says the letter.

China currently accounts for 69 percent of the footwear and 42 percent of the apparel sold in the United States. “While our industry has begun to diversify away from China in recent years, and will continue to do so in the future, supply chains cannot move fast enough or find suitable alternatives in the near term to mitigate the costs associated with these tariffs”, the companies explain.

The letter notes that all companies in the industry, from designers to manufacturers to wholesalers and retailers, importers and exporters, would all be harmed by a 25 percent increase in tariffs on products from China. “Make no mistake, these new tariffs will mean higher prices for U.S. consumers, lower U.S. apparel and footwear sales, and lost jobs for American workers in the U.S. apparel and footwear industry. The short-term prognosis for these sectors due to these tariffs is catastrophic”, the industry leaders wrote.

From June 17 to June 25, the Office of the US Trade Representative will be receiving public commentary on the fourth tranche of tariffs on Chinese products, which would affect footwear, apparel and accessories. Handbags and leather goods, included in the last tariff increase in the trade dispute with China, began incurring the 25 percent tax in May.

Picture: Pixabay