Mexicos footwear and leather sales grew 5% to MXN27.6bn ($1.4bn) last year

Mexico's footwear and leather sales grew 5% to MXN27.6bn ($1.4bn) last year

Premium Brands Footwear (PBF), a Mexican firm that partnered with The Trump Organization in 2014 to make men's shoes, has severed ties with the US President following rising anti-Trump sentiment in the country, a company source told just-style.

The move comes as Mexican producers are up in arms about Trump's threats over a border wall and plans to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) by the summer. The sector is also reeling from a recent spike in sub-valued products from China and Asia.

Under a deal signed in February 2014, PBF agreed to make men's dress and business casual shoes under the Donald J. Trump Collection for sale in Mexico. The styles were expected to retail in local department stores, boutiques and independent retailers, fetching $150-$200.

The PBF source, who requested anonymity, said the firm is no longer producing the lines and would not comment further.

The move comes as luxury-department store chain El Palacio de Hierro last month removed Ivanka Trump shoes and accessories from its shelves, citing disappointing sales – although sources said the chain had succumbed to rising anti-Trump pressure. 

Mexican activists have called for boycotts of US fashion labels to protest against Trump's border wall and his insistence that Mexico pay for it. There has also been anger over reports that Trump apparel licensor Peerless Clothing uses Mexican factories to make his clothes. Peerless Clothing did not return requests for comment.

Meanwhile, the new president of Mexico footwear industry federation CICEG (Camara de la Industria del Calzado del Estado de Guanajuatao) has called for the Tax Administration Service, Servicio de Administracion Tributaria (SAT) to step up raids against groups seeking to import under-valued footwear.

"We need tougher and more energetic sanctions against people who commit customs and tax fraud and damage our sector," Luis Gerardo Gonzalez said at last week's opening of the Sapica footwear and leather goods trade fair in Leon, Central Mexico.

The industry has also established a working committee inside the NAFTA negotiations to preserve the Aztec nation's footwear and leather manufacturing cluster, whose sales grew 5% to MXN27.6bn ($1.4bn) last year. The 150,000-strong sector, however, has seen profits hammered as the plunging peso has boosted raw-material costs.

Gonzalez said the sector is working to draw new customers from the US, with which it has a $360m trade surplus. It is also targeting new markets in Europe, Colombia and Guatemala.

Trump's plans to expel more Mexican immigrants is seen helping makers because it will bring new and qualified workers back to its shores.

"Right now, we could get 5,000 to 10,000 more workers for our industry," Gonzalez said. "We need workers and this is a good and qualified ones."