U.S. footwear sector call to freeze duty

United States
Published:  11 March, 2020

The Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA) has estimated that duties on footwear would increase costs at the cash register by nearly US$12 billion in 2020.

In a letter sent to the White House, the FDRA praised the proposed payroll tax cut, but also encouraged a freeze on footwear duties “to help offset the growing effects the coronavirus is having on shoe companies and workers.” According to the FDRA, the White House can enact a duty freeze by proclamation, without approval from the Congress. “This is yet another innovative way FDRA represents the industry. While people think only of the payroll tax, which must pass Congress, we encourage the President to take immediate action to help our industry with a duty freeze. We will use any tool possible to during this difficult time to help the footwear industry and our workers”, said Matt Priest, President and CEO, FDRA.

Priest said the payroll tax cut would provide an additional US$250 each month to shoe store employees across the U.S., but that a freeze on footwear duties would “reduce higher costs on American families”. The FDRA estimated that in 2020 "shoe duties will increase costs at the cash register by nearly US$12 billion just on shoes alone”. The calculation was based on how much the industry is estimated to pay in footwear tariffs in 2020, which then results in higher costs after distribution, warehouse, marketing, and retail labour costs are laid on top before it reaches the consumer.