• Trump said the tariffs to get common items back into Canada are so high that Canadians have to smuggle footwear into the country.
  • The Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America (FDRA) has hit back saying the President is "misinformed" about the footwear trade and that it welcomes "anyone from anywhere to come and purchase shoes in America."
Consumers buying shoes in America pay a tariff upwards of 37.5% and 67.5%.

Consumers buying shoes in America pay a tariff upwards of 37.5% and 67.5%.

The US footwear industry's business and trade association has issued a strongly worded response to President Donald Trump's allegation that Canadians are smuggling shoes across the border to avoid paying tariffs.

Speaking at the National Federation of Independent Business yesterday (19 June), Trump said the tariffs to get common items back into Canada are so high that Canadians have to smuggle footwear into the country.

"They buy shoes, then they wear them. They scuff them up. They make them sound old or look old," he told attendees.

"Hopefully, we'll be able to work it out with Canada," he added. "We have very good relationships with Canada. We have for a long time. And hopefully, that will work out. But Canada is not going to take advantage of the United States any longer."

Matt Priest, CEO of the Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America (FDRA), said the President is "misinformed" about the footwear trade.

"On behalf of the American footwear industry, we welcome anyone from anywhere to come and purchase shoes in America. It helps both our brands and retailers grow. Period. We don't care where they wear them, and if they get scuffed up all the better so we can sell them more."

Priest said consumers buying shoes in America already pay a very high tariff, upwards of 37.5% and 67.5%.

"NAFTA is not treating footwear consumers in America unfairly, the American Government itself has not lowered footwear duties in a meaningful way in over 80 years. If the President is concerned about treating American footwear companies and consumers fairly, then he should have signed the TPP to lower footwear costs in America. Canada signed the TPP and will eventually get duty-free shoes from Vietnam, a major sourcing hub, where American brands will ship directly into Canada duty-free.

"Canadians have no real reason to "smuggle" their shoes because their government is already helping lower their costs through proper trade deals," he said in a statement.

Tensions with Canada and other trade partners have escalated as Trump seeks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) while imposing tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, prompting retaliatory levies.

Earlier this month Trump was reported to be contemplating individual trade agreements with Canada and Mexico in what would be a shift in NAFTA negotiations.

Speaking yesterday, he said: "When I campaigned, I said I will either renegotiate NAFTA or I'll terminate it and we'll start from an even base. And people are afraid of that. You know, I've had so many people – they come up, they say, "Oh, please don't terminate NAFTA." I said, "But it's no good." "Yeah, but we know what we have." It's true. People are worried because they know what they have."