Why a CBP proposal could mean higher tariffs on fashion footwear – footwear news

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A new US Customs and Border Protection proposal could mean US-based shoe companies will pay higher duties on certain shoe products.

CBP recently recommended the reclassification of certain fashion footwear as athletic footwear – a move that some trade groups say could significantly increase the rate of duty on certain products.

According to a CBP policy dating back to October 25, 1993, athletic shoes – which includes “tennis shoes, basketball shoes, athletic shoes [and] training shoes “among others – does not include” slip-on shoes “and” shoes which look like sports shoes but which clearly could not be used at all in this sporting activity. “The category also excludes “sneakers with sequined or widely embroidered uppers”.

However, the new modification proposed by CBP suggests that some fashion shoes are “suitable for athletic activity” because they share basic characteristics with high performance athletic shoes, including “flexible outsoles with traction, soles. cushioned interior and a secure closure ‘- and should therefore be priced as such.

Arguing that athletic shoes are generally priced at a higher rate than fashion shoes, the American Apparel and Footwear Association wrote a letter to CBP on Friday stating that revoking the previous policy “would reverse decades of precedent, of industry best practices and common sense. The organization further argued that virtually all footwear such as dress shoes, casual shoes, and women’s court shoes have a combination of characteristics that CBP has highlighted.

“I don’t see anyone playing football in their dress shoes or running in their pumps – and they never would,” wrote President and CEO Rick Helfenbein. “The same goes for the fashion sneakers in question. The average consumer would never wear trendy sneakers for a long walk or a short run or for playing basketball or football… They are worn as a fashion statement, which is the main intention of buying. a little comfort.

He added: “I urge CBP to immediately withdraw this revocation proposal and continue to classify the shoes in question – and all associated fashion sneakers – as non-athletic footwear. Additionally, I urge CBP to engage the trade in a broader conversation about fashion vs. sneakers. “

While imported consumer goods are taxed at an average rate of 1.9%, American shoe distributors and retailers report that existing shoe duties are on average 11% and can reach 67.5%. Additional duties, including tariffs on Chinese imports, are expected to have a negative effect on the U.S. economy and may result in higher prices for U.S. consumers.

The FDRA, which wrote to CBP in 2016 requesting further clarification of the criteria that determine whether a shoe is athletic or not, also submitted a letter opposing the recent proposed change.

“The proposed change appears ‘out of the blue’,” wrote President and CEO Matt Priest. “Yes [the] CBP decides to proceed with the proposed revocation, it should first change the definition of athletic footwear that has been in place for over a quarter of a century.

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