The American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) backs the proposal of the Pink Tariffs Study Act, being introduced by Congresswomen Lizzie Fletcher and Brittany Pettersen from the New Democratic Coalition (NDC) Trade Task Force, voicing concerns over the alleged “century-long potential gender-bias and regressivity” within the US tariff system.

The congresswomen said they introduced the Pink Tariffs Study Act to examine the “prevalence and impact of pink tariffs,” which they argue may lead to women paying higher prices for everyday items compared to men.

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These tariffs allegedly affect a wide range of products, including everything from razors to clothes.

The Pink Tariffs Study Act would require the US Department of the Treasury to conduct and deliver a report to Congress “examining potential gender bias and regressivity” within the US tariff system.

American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA)’s president and CEO, Steve Lamar believes there is “no room for gender bias” in trade or tariff policy, yet he noted this legacy has been allowed to persist for nearly a century.

Lamar said: “Thanks to Reps Fletcher and Pettersen, and to the Progressive Policy Institute, for advancing the dialogue on this issue. We look forward to working on a bipartisan basis with Congress and the Administration to make sure our tariff policy sheds its regressive and misogynistic features.”

The congresswomen allege that traditionally, gender bias in the consumer space has been referred to as the “pink tax,” which occurs when companies charge a higher price for women’s products than similar to men’s products.

However, they pointed out, there is evidence that import taxes, also known as tariffs, may directly contribute to women paying more at the register than men.

In the bill, Fletcher and Pettersen state: “While often hidden from public view, tariffs have a significant impact on the prices Americans pay in stores every day. Research has shown that tariffs disproportionately impact products women commonly use.

“But despite making up $100 billion of the US tax system, tariffs are rarely examined as a form of taxation, and rates on mass-market items haven’t changed in decades. Every American deserves a fairer tax system, and this legislation will help us get to the bottom of the issue.”

Ed Gresser, vice president and director of trade and global markets at the Progressive Policy Institute, is of the view that it is past time for US policymakers to systematically examine the tariff system, which he claimed currently appears to tax “women more than men and low-income families more than high-income families.”

Gresser continued: “I applaud Representatives Fletcher, Pettersen, and the New Democratic Coalition’s Trade Task Force for their leadership on this essential issue. Tariffs are not only trade policy but one of the seven main tax systems, and as in the other six, US policymakers must be vigilant to identify and correct gender bias and regressivity in it.”

The congresswomen further added this legislation has been endorsed by the NDC Trade Task Force and the Democratic Women’s Caucus.