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But looming tariffs could ground Vans and other footwear brands. Ninety-eight percent of shoes are manufactured abroad, with nearly three-quarters of those imports coming from China, according to the American Apparel & Footwear Association, making footwear one of the most heavily imported products. Shoes are not on the list of goods expected to be hit by the latest round of tariffs, but the industry is on high alert after President Trump said Friday he was prepared to extend tariffs to all $500bn worth of imports from China. “I’m ready to go to 500,” he told CNBC.
"We would be asleep if we weren’t concerned about it,” Scott A. Roe, chief financial officer of VF Corporation, the parent company of Vans, as well as a dozen other brands including Timberland, Reef and the North Face, said in an earnings call Friday. “We are watching this very carefully.”
Earlier this month, the United States imposed tariffs on $34bn worth of Chinese imports, including cars and industrial machinery. Shortly after that, Trump said he would pursue further tariffs on an additional $200bn worth of Chinese goods.
Shoe companies rely heavily on Chinese-made goods, despite efforts in recent years to move more of their operations to such countries as Vietnam and Cambodia. Last year, the United States imported $14.8bn worth of shoes from China, making footwear the fifth-largest category of Chinese imports, according an analysis of census data by the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. (Other top imports: cellphones, $84bn; computers, $67bn; toys, $28bn; and furniture and bedding, $27bn.)
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