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US delays tariffs on some apparel and footwear items
Aug 13, 2019 (MarketLine via COMTEX) -- Copyright (C) 2019 Datamonitor. All rights reserved

The US tariff saga continues to unravel, with the latest move seeing certain items of footwear and apparel among a number of imported Chinese products that will see an additional tariff of 10% delayed for 105 days until 15 December.

The news was announced by the office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) in a statement today (13 July), which detailed the next steps in the process of imposing the additional tariff.

Earlier this month, President Trump tweeted his plans for a 10% tariff hike on US$300bn of additional Chinese products from 1 September. The new tariffs covered almost all textiles, apparel and footwear and the decision left apparel brands, retailers and importers reeling.

But USTR now says that as part of its public comment and hearing process, the tariff should be delayed to 15 December for certain articles. Products in this group (List 4B) include "certain items of footwear and clothing," cell phones, laptop computers, video game consoles, certain toys, and computer monitors.

Among the products in Tranche 4B (Effective 15 December 2019) are knitted suits, skirts, silk shirts, underpants & briefs, bathrobes, dressing gowns, briefs & panties, silk T-shirts, cashmere sweaters, pullovers, sweatshirts & waistcoats (vests); and woven anoraks & windbreakers, silk or synthetic fibre suits, and silk shirts.

Items of footwear include sports footwear with outer soles and uppers of rubber or plastics, valued not over $3/pair and formed uppers for footwear, of leather/composition leather, for women, misses, children and infants.

However, Tranche 4A (Effective 1 September 2019) remains far longer and still includes the majority of men's and boys, women's and girls apparel imports. 

The temporary delay has been welcomed by the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) today, but the group also blasted the imposition of others. 

"While the Trump administration is delaying tariffs on 'certain items of footwear and clothing' for 105 days, and removing other items from the list entirely, it is still persisting with a destructive plan to impose tariffs on consumer goods used by every American and critical inputs used by US manufacturers," says Rick Helfenbein, president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association.

"Make no mistake, these tariffs, including the ones imposed in earlier tranches, are paid by US companies. They create costs and uncertainty, forcing companies to delay or scuttle hiring and investment decisions and ultimately hit the US consumer. Rebalancing our trade partnership with China is of critical importance, but taxing US companies, US consumers, and the US economy is not the way to achieve that goal."

AAFA testified against these tariffs in June, along with approximately three dozen companies from the apparel and footwear industry.

Meanwhile, other products are being removed from the tariff list based on health, safety, national security and "other factors."

USTR says it intends to conduct an exclusion process for products subject to the additional tariff and will publish additional details and lists of the tariff lines affected in the Federal Register.

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