Industry organisations are jointly protesting against the Obama Administration’s objections to continued tariff relief for footwear and apparel products not made in the US.

The Administration has objected to footwear and apparel bills introduced as part of the 2012 Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) process.

Kevin Burke, president and CEO of the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) and the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA) have both sent letters complaining about the issue to US Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank.

The groups say the limited tariff relief allows for cost savings for the industry and consumers alike, with the FDRA letter saying the objections are “discriminatory, arbitrary and not justified by the facts”.

The letters also counter arguments that the MTBs could impact negotiations over future Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), with the FDRA saying: “The reality is that the footwear MTBs support US jobs and could not possibly influence potential US free trade partners to alter their positions in the negotiations.”

FDRA president Matt Priest described the Administration’s stance as “unprecedented” and strongly urged it to reconsider its position.