A partial trade agreement between the United States and China has reportedly been reached on Friday, with President Donald Trump calling it a “substantial deal” that serves as a temporary truce to a more-than-yearlong financial dispute.
However, members of the footwear industry are apparently unappeased. In a statement to FN, Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America president and CEO Matt Priest said, “In this ongoing, uncertain trade and business environment, any talk of a potential deal is a positive development. However, we will not be fully satisfied until President Trump removes all of the China 301 import taxes hitting American families and American businesses.” (The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative declared the tariffs following a Section 301 investigation that determined China’s technology transfer and intellectual property practices were “unreasonable and discriminatory.”)
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Priest added, “The tariffs have already raised consumer costs and prevented shoe companies from growing. One step forward when we’ve taken three steps back on trade policy isn’t a real win for American shoe companies. We urge trade negotiators on both sides to keep working to a full agreement that rolls back all recent tariffs so everyone sees lower costs and shoe companies can unleash innovation and create new jobs.”
Similarly, American Apparel and Footwear Association president and CEO Rick Helfenbein said the organization “welcomes the president’s decision” but added that “the reality is that everything currently being hit with punitive tariffs is still being charged.”
“As we have said throughout this trade war, we do not believe continuing to tax Americans gives us leverage at the negotiating table with China, and it is past time that these misguided tariffs were removed,” he added. “The continued costs and uncertainties associated with this tariff policy mean the Grinch still has stolen our Christmas.”
Following a scheduled meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, Trump said today that the world’s two largest economies have agreed to a “phase one” deal that includes China’s purchase of $40 billion to $50 billion worth of American agricultural products as well as guidelines on intellectual property, reported The New York Times. It also puts a pause to the U.S. leader’s planned tariff increase on Oct. 15, which would’ve boosted to 30% the existing duty of 25% already in place on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods, per NYT.
The limited agreement is said to lay the groundwork for a comprehensive deal that Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping could sign in mid-November when they meet on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ summit.
Over the past year and a half, the U.S. and China have imposed new duties on billions of dollars in imports coming from either country. On Sept. 1, Washington hit Beijing with a 15% levy on $112 billion worth of goods, the first portion of the fourth tranche of tariffs set to be implemented by the U.S. (China retaliated by slapping American products with new duties that range from 5% to 10%.) Tariffs on a remaining $188 billion — for a total of $300 billion representing the complete fourth tranche — are expected to take effect on Dec. 15.
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