Footwear, Apparel Industries Could Be Disrupted By Tariffs


With U.S. tariffs on imports from China, an industry association leader has said that American shoppers will be faced with higher prices for purchases. American Apparel and Footwear Association President and CEO Rick Helfenbein said the group has concerns about the impacts of tariffs, CNBC reported.

“We’re having some serious problems with this tariffs situation,” Helfenbein told CNBC. “This is disruptive to our supply chains, this is hurtful to our business.”

In particular, the footwear and apparel space will be particularly impacted by the tariffs as 72 percent of footwear, 41 percent of apparel and 84 percent of accessories brought into the country originate in China. Additionally, Helfenbein said that many products come from China, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Indonesia and India. As a result, the industry doesn’t have many other sourcing options.

And, with news of the Trump Administration’s planned 25 percent tariff on Chinese imports circulating, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said earlier this month that the move could be very detrimental to the U.S. economy. In particular, the NRF’s president and CEO Matthew Shay told Chain Store Age that the move would be “another step [toward] throwing away the benefits of tax reform.”

“These tariffs might be part of an effort to bring about fair trade with China, but as we’ve said before, all we have seen so far is a huge risk for American consumers and workers with no endgame in sight,” Shay said in a statement. “It’s time to stop digging a deeper hole while we can still climb out.”

The news comes as some Trump administration advisers are pushing the president to set tariffs as high as 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports — a steep increase from the original proposal for 10 percent. According to the Wall Street Journal, the White House is expected to make a final decision sometime in late August on the tariffs, which are expected to target consumer goods and food, as well as machinery components.