Duties on US childrens footwear imports are forecast to jump to $320m in 2016

Duties on US children's footwear imports are forecast to jump to $320m in 2016

As back-to-school footwear sales get underway, new figures have been released showing that duties on children's footwear shipped into the US topped the $300m mark for the first time last year.

Calculations by the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA) show duties hit "an unprecedented" $307m in 2015, and it estimates that in 2016 duties on children's footwear will jump again to $320m.

In total, duties on children's footwear have increased 191% since 2005, reaching a "new record high."

Worse, the magnification effect – costs added on top of the duty including transport, marketing, warehouse, and retail wages ­– means "Americans are currently paying close to a billion dollars more than they need too for their kids shoes...to protect zero domestic manufacturing jobs as we haven't mass produced kids' shoes in America in over 30 years," says FDRA president Matt Priest. 

One silver lining seen by FDRA is that children footwear imports from second-largest supplier Vietnam are continuing to grow – offering potential for duty savings if the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact passes Congress.

After China, Vietnam supplied a record 55.3m pairs in 2015 that accounted for 10.5% of total children's footwear imports.

At $76.3m, Vietnam's share of the total duties paid on children's footwear imports in 2015 has risen even faster, with the country now accounting for an unprecedented 24.8% of duties paid on just 10.5% of the volume of total shipments.

FDRA believes duties on children's footwear from Vietnam will spike to over $91m for 2016 and will balloon to $160.7m by 2018 as footwear production continues to grow.

But Priest also points out: "We estimate American families could save $4bn dollars at retail on their kids shoes over the full 12 year implementation process if TPP passes Congress."

The group suggests that with the TPP in force, savings on children's shoes made in Vietnam and sold at retail could drop between $2 to $4 per pair, on average. In turn, this will cut children's footwear duties by $125m in year one and will save $1.5bn on children's footwear duties in just over a decade.

It is urging US footwear manufacturers, importers and retailers to lobby lawmakers for passage of the TPP.

Last month the FDRA released its overview on US footwear sourcing trends in 2015.  

China remains powerhouse for footwear sourcing