OIA, Footwear Industry Seek Lower Japanese Tariffs on American Leather Footwear

May 23, 2012

Did you know that Japan assesses up to 300 percent duties on imported leather footwear after quotas are reached? This is an effort to limit the amount of footwear that Japan imports, which makes it tough for American companies to penetrate this market. That’s where Outdoor Industry Association® (OIA) can make a difference.

Last week, OIA joined other trade groups in a letter to Commerce Secretary John Bryson and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk urging them to eliminate Japan’s tariff rate quota (TRQ) on U.S. leather footwear as a requirement for Japan to join the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. The TPP is an ongoing, multilateral trade negotiation between the U.S. and eight other Asia Pacific countries. Japan has requested to join the TPP negotiations, along with Canada and Mexico.

Japan’s TRQ restricts how many American-made leather boots and shoes Japan may import, which can make it challenging to sell leather footwear into their market. Currently, Japan allows about 12 million pairs, or 1.2 percent, into the country out of an overall footwear market estimated at a billion pairs a year. After this quota is reached, footwear imports are assessed a 100 to 300 percent duty rate.

The joint association letter encourages Secretary Bryson and Ambassador Kirk to make the elimination of the TRQ a prerequisite to Japan joining the TPP negotiations.

This is just one way OIA is representing our members and pursuing trade policies that are favorable to the outdoor industry. Review a copy of the letter, and if you have any questions about this issue or the TPP, please contact Alex Boian, OIA’s director of trade policy.