Street Style, shoe detailStreet Style, Spring Summer 2020, Paris Fashion Week Men's, France - 22 Jun 2019

The footwear industry’s lobby group has issued a letter to the Trump administration, pleading for a deferment on tariff payments and taxes in light of the coronavirus’ economic fallout.

Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America claims that the U.S. footwear industry has lost 100,000 jobs over the course of the COVID-19 crisis.

The group’s president and chief executive officer Matt Priest sent a letter today addressed to U.S. Customs and Border Protection acting commissioner Mark Morgan and deputy assistant secretary of Treasury Timothy Skud. It outlines the many financial hardships that the sector faces and requests a delay of taxes and duty payments, which had recently seen a sharp increase during President Trump’s trade war with China.

“Today, we called on the Trump Administration to extend its current duty deferment plan for the rest of the year,” Priest said in a statement about his group’s memorandum. “We hope that everything is on the table to save our economy. If it is, then duty deferment is an easy way to ensure footwear companies and their workers have the liquidity they need to regain their footing during this unprecedented time,” he added.

The FDRA lobbies on behalf of 500-plus footwear companies and manufacturers, representing up to 90 percent of the U.S. footwear industry. Through a member survey, the group found that 70 percent of executives polled expect sales to plummet between 20 and 40 percent this year. They estimate it will take a minimum of six months to return to typical supply chain operations.

“In order to help stop the bleeding, we must have duty deferment until the end of the year. This would free up much-needed financial resources for companies to continue operations and preserve U.S. jobs. These duties will still be paid, just at a later date, so there is no loss to the federal government by such an extension,” reads the letter.

“Strengthening our footwear companies during this difficult time is vital to our workers, their families and the communities they support. We hope everything is on the table to save our economy. If it is, then duty deferments is a simple win for everyone,” it said.