Make Shoes in U.S., or Pay Tariffs? A Footwear Company Seeks a Third Option
Date: Tuesday, September 3, 2019
Source: The New York Times
Before the trade war threatened to upend everything, Lena Phoenix spent most of her hours puzzling over how to expand the thriving footwear business she and her husband had founded in their home in Colorado.
Now, she is mostly consumed with finding a way around the tariffs that President Trump just imposed, bringing expensive complications. The latest round took effect on Sunday, increasing the costs that Americans pay for $112 billion worth of goods imported from China, among them the shoes and sandals designed and sold by Ms. Phoenix’s company, Xero Shoes.
Mr. Trump has hailed his tariffs as a means of forcing American companies to abandon China and make their goods at home. Ms. Phoenix has taken the trade war as impetus to seek alternatives to the Chinese factories that now make her company’s products. But the United States presents no viable options, she says. The tariffs have forced her to slow her business while exploring manufacturing plants in Southeast Asia.
“It’s just crazy,” Ms. Phoenix said. “There’s a lot of scrambling going on, and a lot of figuring out what to do.”