The footwear industry is “in a state of flux” thanks to delays in the issuing of guidance over tariffs by US Customs, say four of the sector’s leading associations.

The quartet of bodies, which represent most domestic manufacturers of rubber and plastic footwear as well as footwear importers, include the American Apparel & Footwear Assocation; Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America; the Outdoor Industry Association; and the Rubber & Plastics Footwear Manufacturers Association.

In a joint letter to David Aguilar, acting commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the four urge the immediate issuing of guidance on the “textile outsole” changes to Chapter 64 of the Harmonised Tariff Schedule System of the United States (HTSUS).

The changes came into force nearly a year ago, and the associations have been urging for clarity on the issue since May this year, but they have not yet been given CBP guidance.

“The net result is an industry in a state of flux regarding what has constituted a significant part of the trade,” they write.

“Because guidance has not yet been issued by CBP, we are concerned that there is little or no consistency in the way that importers are classifying the imported items for tariff purposes.”

The consequent confusion is causing “serious concerns” to importers and domestic producers alike, they say.