FDRA Announces AFA, A Bill to Cut Footwear Duties, Reintroduced in the US House

FDRA Announces AFA, A Bill to Cut Footwear Duties, Reintroduced in the US House

(Washington, DC) — The Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA) applauds the reintroduction of the Affordable Footwear Act (AFA), H.R.1708, today in the United States House of Representatives. The bill’s original sponsors include Representatives Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) and Joseph Crowley (D-NY), as well as a record number of 28 original co-sponsors.

The United States imposes a hidden tax on footwear. This bill will remove this burdensome tax on about one third of all footwear. More specifically, if passed, AFA would eliminate approximately $800 million in duties on lower-priced children’s footwear, outdoor shoes and some athletic. The bill continues to have wide bipartisan support, including Members of the Ways and Means Committee, which oversees footwear issues.

“The federal government is making shoes more expensive for hard working Americans and their families,” said Rep. Lynn Jenkins.  “The Affordable Footwear Act will remove a burdensome and unnecessary tax on a variety of footwear, lowering the price of children’s, outdoor, and performance footwear products for all consumers. By eliminating an outdated tariff on certain shoe types that no longer have a domestic manufacturer, this bill will make it easier for middle class families to afford a product they really need.”

“On behalf of the over 100 footwear companies FDRA represents, we thank Representatives Jenkins and Crowley for their support of the industry and footwear consumers,” stated FDRA Chairman Blake Kruger. “For all too long, American consumers have been hit with the hidden shoe tax. Worse, this tax is regressive, hitting working class families and children the hardest on a product everyone must purchase. This common sense legislation would help relieve this unnecessary tax burden on these families.”

An astonishing $2.3 billion in duties were paid on footwear in 2012. The Affordable Footwear Act would go a long way toward addressing this added cost burden on working families by eliminating duties on shoes with the highest duty rates. If successful, this bill will generate additional savings for consumers, drive more shoe sales and provide additional opportunities for job growth in the U.S. footwear industry.

Addressing the issue of a gridlocked Congress, FDRA President Matt Priest added: “While many think the two parties can agree on nothing, we are pleased that this reintroduction has more original cosponsors, from both parties, than ever before. We are also pleased to see tax reform being discussed, which could provide a platform to move AFA through Congress. Both of these are a good sign we will see positive traction on AFA and other footwear issues this Congress.”

FDRA’s President and Vice President served as senior staff a combined 13 years in Congress, providing the footwear industry with unparalleled insight and expertise on legislative issues.  Should you have any questions about this bill, or other Congressional related questions, please contact Andy Polk at apolk@fdra.org