U.S. Footwear Imports Up

The U.S. is a massive importer of footwear and in 2015 the growth continued, even though at a slow rhythm. U.S. footwear imports rose by 6 percent in 2015, to $26.8 billion, according to the most recent U.S. Department of Commerce data, faster than 2014’s growth rate of 4.7 percent, spurred by the health of the athletic and athleisure segments. the fastest paces in the last four and five years, respectively.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Textiles and Apparel, China remains–by far–the largest supplier to U.S. consumers, almost 63 percent of total U.S. footwear imports, down from almost 66 percent in 2014. Vietnam, Italy and Indonesia rounded out the top four sources of U.S. imported footwear in the year, with Vietnam 16 % of total imports, Indonesia by 15.7 % and imports from Italy 5 %. According to the OTEXA, Canada was the biggest market for U.S. footwear exports in 2015, comprising more than 23 % of the 2015 total, followed by South Korea 10 % and Japan 9 %.

According to the FDRA (Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America), 2015 footwear import data shows the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) has grown substantially in importance to the footwear industry. The importance of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) to the footwear industry and American footwear consumers grew substantially. FDRA calculates TPP would now save the footwear industry half a billion dollars in duties on year one of implementation.

The footwear production chains are located in countries that have a comparative advantage in low-skill manufacturing, such as China and, more importantly, Vietnam, a TPP member. Footwear exports from Vietnam to the US increased from 7.6% of the total in 2009 to 16% in 2015. U.S. tariffs on footwear imported from Vietnam can range from 5% to 40%, according to OTEXA (Office of Textiles and Apparel). TPP will put an end to these excessive tariffs.