Today is the 90th anniversary of the enactment of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act. You may remember from history class that this legislation imposed high tariffs in response to President Herbert Hoover’s call to protect declining domestic industries. What you may not know is that American consumers continue to pay higher taxes on clothing and footwear even in 2020.
Over these 90 years, footwear and apparel companies and consumers have paid an incredible $309 billion in tariffs to the U.S. government. They have done so, even though the tariffs do not protect footwear and apparel jobs. Today’s leading footwear and apparel companies have global supply chains that depend on international trade and support U.S. workers. High tariffs negatively impact these American workers, and the U.S. footwear and apparel sectors have urged their removal for decades now.
Join us to urge the President and lawmakers to remember this lasting legacy. The fashion industry -- apparel, accessories, home textiles and footwear -- serve as key examples of why Smoot-Hawley’s idea of high tariffs on U.S. imports has not worked and fails to keep jobs here in the U.S. With the President’s constant rhetoric of more tariffs, we must also remember one of the most unfortunate legacies of Smoot-Hawley: Once a tariff is in place, it is almost impossible to take it away.