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AAFA praises re-introduction of the Affordable Footwear Act
Dec '09
The American Apparel & Footwear Association(AAFA) applauded Representatives Joseph Crowley(D-NY), chair of the New Democrats coalition, and Kevin Brady (R-TX), ranking member of the House Ways and Means trade subcommittee, for their re-introduction of the Affordable Footwear Act (H.R. 4316) in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Affordable Footwear Act is a commonsense piece of legislation that would eliminate the hidden and regressive tax on most low-cost and children's shoes.

A similar piece of legislation (S. 730), sponsored by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and John Ensign (R-NV) and strongly supported by AAFA, is currently pending in the U.S. Senate and has 15 additional Senate bipartisan cosponsors.

“With all of Washington's talk about strengthening the U.S. economy, the Affordable Footwear Act is a quick and easy way to bring immediate relief to hardworking American families,” said AAFA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke. “The U.S. footwear industry is one of the first industries to suffer in a recession, and we are suffering more than ever because consumers are financially strapped. The Affordable Footwear Act would help pass along over $2 billion in instant savings to American consumers while jumpstarting shoe sales.”

The Affordable Footwear Act will ease the tax burden on American consumers who unknowingly pay upwards of 40 percent beyond the cost of a pair of shoes at retail to cover the import duty, or shoe tax, on shoes made outside of the United States. In reality, the tax is unavoidable because 99 percent of the shoes purchased each year in the United States are produced outside of the United States. Moreover, the highest import duties, as high as 67 percent, are on the lowest-cost shoes.

After its passage, the Affordable Footwear Act would eliminate about $800 million in duties on children's and low-cost shoes (out of the $1.7 billion in total duties collected on imported shoes in 2008). Undeniably, shoes are a life necessity, and the hidden and regressive shoe tax places too high a burden on hardworking American families at a time when they can least afford it. Quick passage of the Affordable Footwear Act will be a positive step towards restoring consumer confidence, increasing retail sales, and protecting vital jobs in the U.S. footwear industry.

American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA)

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