US sports footwear, apparel industry to be hit hardest by latest tariffs against China

For the US sports and fitness industry, China has become one of the most important production source countries.
For the US sports and fitness industry, China has become one of the most important production source countries.PHOTO: AFP

SAN FRANCISCO (XINHUA) - Sports footwear and apparel will be hit the hardest among many other sporting goods by the fourth round of tariffs to be imposed by the US administration on Chinese-made products, said the industry on Wednesday (Aug 14).

The whole sports and fitness industry will be impacted with many products targeted, said the Sports and Fitness Industry Association.

The US Trade Representative office earlier released List 4 of tariffs on US$300 billion (S$417 billion) worth of Chinese goods. The new 10 per cent tariffs were set to take effect in two stages this year, Sept 1 and Dec 15 respectively.

While the tariffs for List 4A targeting sports footwear and textile products will come into effect on Sept 1, US President Donald Trump on Tuesday postponed the duties on List 4B which covers mobile phones, laptop computers and toys to Dec 15, sometime after the start of the Christmas shopping spree.

Ms Grace Huang, president of San Francisco-based Mandarin Business Association, said she has seen a remarkable increase in the prices of imported Chinese footwear since early this year.

Ms Huang's family operates a footwear factory in China and exports 30 million pairs of shoes to the United States and European markets. "With the cost increased, US consumers will have to pay more for the same products," she said.

Apart from the hardest-hit footwear and apparel, sports equipment, headgear and components are also tagged for new tariffs, said the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, which represents more than 1,000 sporting goods and fitness brands, manufacturers, retailers and marketers in the United States.

Following a meeting with the Trade Representative office on Tuesday, Mr Bill Sells, senior vice-president of government and public affairs at the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, said in a statement on Wednesday that there will be no grace period for the targeted products on the water after Sept 1.

"Any Chinese imports not unloaded at a US port by Sept 1 will be subject to the new tariffs, unless they have received an exemption or exclusion," said the statement.

 
 
 

The Sports and Fitness Industry Association has been engaged in mobilising its members to petition for exemption from the tariffs since the beginning of the trade disputes between the two countries last year.

It also promised to continue to discourage the US administration from increasing import duties on Chinese products, as China plays a crucial role for many American manufacturers.

For the US sports and fitness industry, China has become one of the most important production source countries, with companies from every sector selling goods to the US market, according to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association.

The booming sports and fitness industry in the United States employs more than 375,000 people and generates US$150 billion of revenue in domestic wholesale business, according to the organisation.