Saturday 19 October 2019

Footing the bill: Nike and Adidas demand end to 'catastrophic' trade war

Number of firms behind the letter

Letter: the sportswear giants wrote to US President Donald Trump asking him to reconsider his policy towards China. Photo: AP
Letter: the sportswear giants wrote to US President Donald Trump asking him to reconsider his policy towards China. Photo: AP

Eben Novy-Williams and Tim Loh

Nike, Adidas and other footwear companies have urged Donald Trump to reconsider his tariffs on shoes made in China, saying the policy would be "catastrophic for our consumers, our companies and the American economy as a whole."

In all, 173 companies signed an open letter to the US President. "On behalf of our hundreds of millions of footwear consumers and hundreds of thousands of employees, we ask that you immediately stop this action," the group said. The protest comes as US-China trade tensions escalate and Mr Trump threatens to impose tariffs as high as 25pc on Chinese goods - including all types of footwear.

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While the industry has moved production away from China in recent years because of rising wages, shifting trade policies and a desire to make more goods at home in the US and Europe, the Asian country remains a shoe giant.

Adidas, for example, sourced just under one-fifth of its 409 million pairs last year from China. The German company made 3pc of its shoes in Europe and the Americas, where it has set up two new 'speed factories' that use robots, but the vast majority of Adidas's goods are made in Asia ­- and probably will be for some time to come.

Tariffs are a touchy subject within the industry as shoe firms already pay some of the highest duties in the US.

The US shoe industry's trade association, the Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America, estimates that the tariffs would cost customers an additional $7bn a year. "Your proposal to add tariffs on all imports from China is asking the American consumer to foot the bill," the letter said.

"It is time to bring this trade war to an end."

Bloomberg

Irish Independent

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