FDRA’s mission is simple:
1. FDRA is the footwear industry’s business intelligence hub – keeping its members up-to-date on important regulatory changes and its effect on their business.
2. FDRA is the footwear industry’s thought leader – finding innovative solutions to a range of challenges impacting the footwear industry from sourcing to product safety regulations.
3. FDRA is the footwear industry’s advocate and voice in Washington, DC and around the globe – pushing for the elimination of footwear tariffs that drive up costs and common-sense regulations impacting the industry.
FDRA accomplishes its mission through in-depth newsletters and alerts, special reports, direct consultation, workshops and continual education programs, and advocacy campaigns on a range of issues including:
Footwear Sourcing, Trade Policy and Factory Compliance Expertise
FDRA supports both importers and private label brands with global sourcing strategies, understanding trade issues, and enhancing factory compliance through real-time data, analytical reports, newsletters, working group calls, events and direct consultation.
Each month, FDRA issues a Footwear Import Report – a real-time tracking of global footwear imports by quantity, value, duties paid and average unit price. FDRA issues a monthly Footwear Commodities Report – a snapshot on footwear related commodities (cotton, leather, textiles, rubber, oil) on a month-to month basis in order for companies to better understand and forecast supply chain costs. FDRA also issues a special Footwear Trade and Politics newsletter at least once a month to help the industry understand trade policy and politics, especially as Free Trade Agreements are negotiated and debated in Washington. FDRA’s Sourcing and Compliance Bulletin is a monthly report that provides updates and insights on global footwear production and supply chain challenges, exclusive interviews with sourcing and compliance executives, and information and analysis on social compliance trends.
FDRA produces yearly reports such as the Global Footwear Sourcing Assessment, which provides an analysis of global footwear production, and the Footwear Factory Survey Report, which provides key insights into global footwear factory issues including social compliance, health and safety, and worker retention. The association also hosts working group calls for sourcing professionals and extensive workshops on trade, sourcing and compliance across the U.S. and around the world.
Footwear Customs Guidance
FDRA helps its members navigate import and customs challenges, as well as provide free classification of footwear samples.
FDRA works to keep its members updated on customs rulings, product recalls, and general footwear duty and import trends through its monthly Customs Report, working group calls among footwear customs professionals and its exhaustive library of customs memos dating back twenty-five years. Additionally, FDRA created an exceptional app where companies can describe material inputs and submit pictures to receive a classification ruling from FDRA within 24 hours.
Footwear Industry Networking
FDRA hosts a wide range of industry networking events to help connect footwear executives.
Networking opportunities include an annual meeting – where over 200 CEOs, Presidents, VPs, and Directors from across the industry connect – and FDRA’s special executive conferences where an industry topic is discussed in-depth among the industries top executives. FDRA also helps connect industry leaders for meetings and calls as requested.
From China (GB standards) to California (Prop 65), FDRA keeps its members educated on ever-changing chemical regulations impacting footwear production and sales around the globe.
FDRA issues email alerts and updates on changes to chemical and physical testing standards as they occur, hosts working group calls for its members to discuss new changes and how the industry adapts, and hosts workshops to educate brands and companies on RSL issues. In partnership with TÜV SÜD, FDRA has also developed a Global Footwear Product Safety Testing website so members can search the FDRA Guide to Chemical and Physical Testing in Footwear by chemical or jurisdiction. This interactive website also allows FDRA members to search by physical testing standards.
Footwear Sales Data and Analysis
FDRA supports its retail members through exclusive sales data and analysis.
FDRA produces a weekly analytical sales report covering 11,000 stores nationwide for members to understand how they compare to their competition in real time. FDRA also publishes a monthly members-only national retail sales analysis report– providing data and analysis on all shoe sales throughout the country. FDRA also issues a monthly Footwear Retail Recap newsletter for all its members at the end of each month highlighting top news stories and consumer trend updates.
Footwear Committees and Working Groups
FDRA is the platform for industry executives and professionals to communicate and work together on common challenges across company and brand lines.
FDRA has committees and working groups for customs, sourcing and compliance, and product safety footwear executives and professionals. These FDRA members receive updates, discuss best practices and participate by providing input on how FDRA should respond to government rules, regulations, as well as programs they want developed to help the industry. These conference calls have created a hub for the industry to work together and respond with critical mass to issues and challenges, and have helped many companies solve challenges more efficiently thanks to industry cooperation.
Daily and Weekly Footwear Industry Updates
When vital data, news, and regulatory shifts occur, FDRA sends out immediate alerts to members providing real-time information and guidance on next steps.
FDRA issues “executive updates” to its members anytime the industry needs to be aware of major issues. FDRA also issues a weekly newsletter – the Footwear Week in Review – to the entire industry to keep everyone updated on current industry news, trends and events.
Footwear IP Issues
FDRA tracks new footwear brands, trademarks, patents and court cases so its members are always up-to-date on IP issues impacting their businesses.
FDRA sends out its Intellectual Property Digest to members each month. The newsletter provides a list of all new footwear patent and trademark filings, in addition to legal trends and court cases involving footwear companies. FDRA also holds special training through webinars and a Footwear IP Forum to help footwear companies and family owned businesses understand how each company can protect its brands and trademarks.
FDRA Advocacy Efforts:
FDRA meets and interacts with ambassadors and trade officials from countries around the world to advocate for the free flow of footwear; pushing for the reduction of trade barriers and asking for fair treatment of the footwear industry.
FDRA leads advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill and with the Executive Branch meeting with Members of Congress and U.S. officials regarding the elimination of footwear tariffs. FDRA drives a variety of innovating and hard-hitting initiatives to lower shoe costs including:
- Leading the effort to enact the Affordable Footwear Act (AFA), a bill that would eliminate approximately 35% of all import taxes on shoes.
- Advocating for the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB), which temporarily suspends import taxes on a variety of footwear. This bill saves footwear companies, and the industry at large, millions a year; savings passed on to consumers and used to create jobs.
- Pushing multilateral and bilateral trade agreements, agreements with specific countries that would permanently eliminate import taxes on shoes. FDRA is currently involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks that would end import taxes on shoes made in Vietnam and many other countries.
- FDRA helps its members convey concerns and issues to their elected officials through meetings, calls and letters.
- FDRA speaks for the industry – drafting and sending letters to government officials and elected leaders around the world on issues important to the footwear industry.
Events and Continuous Learning Programs
Members have access to free webinars on important topics impacting the industry as well as to FDRA University where they can take footwear compliance classes online. FDRA also holds over 25 workshops across the globe to assist companies understand trends and critical updates on regulations impacting the footwear business including:
- The largest footwear event of its kind in the US, FDRA’s Footwear Traffic Distribution and Customs (FTDC) Conference attracts almost 200 footwear executives, experts and service providers from around the world to discuss new customs regulations and issues impacting global footwear distribution. Live custom classification, port and distribution facility tours along with in-depth speeches and panels make this a must attend for footwear supply chain professionals.
- The Footwear Sourcing and Compliance Intelligence Summit: a two-day conference in New York focused on helping sourcing executives and managers understand production shifts, compliance, capacity and supply chain challenges on a range of important footwear manufacturing countries around the globe.
- Footwear Forums across the U.S. that cover a wide range of issues from retail, sourcing, supply chain, product safety and general compliance updates.
- The industry leading Responsible Footwear Forum (RFF): a workshop held throughout China and in the US, helping enhance social compliance at factories worldwide while delivering key information to footwear companies, factory managers and representatives on social and brand compliance issues.
- The highly praised Product Safety and Environment (PSE) workshop: a workshop held in several Chinese cities and in the US that educates the industry on new product safety standards and regulations as well as how to advance and increase environmentally sustainable manufacturing and distribution of footwear.
- Leather 360 Workshops: FDRA partners with SGS to provide the industry with a full knowledge (360 degree view) of the sourcing, treatment and selling of leather footwear…from hide to retail.