The footwear industry is currently abuzz over yesterday's US election results, particularly when it comes to trade. Industry leaders are concerned that Donald Trump's seemingly tight trade policy will hurt relationships with outside countries. Trump has made his strong feelings against trade deals, including the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)—supported by mega footwear brands like Nike—very clear. It's no secret that the footwear industry heavily relies on international trade, so this could lead affected parties into confusing territory very soon.
Yesterday, Matt Priest, President of Footwear Distributers & Retailers of America, spoke out about what the industry's next steps should be. According to Priest, the footwear industry was pushing for TPP approval before the inauguration, but that clearly wasn't achieved. He believes the footwear industry needs to start building relationships with the Trump administration now in order to establish common ground early on. Since many of Trump's opinions are still unclear, Priest seems to be keeping a fairly positive attitude.
Here's what a couple other footwear executives have to say on the matter:
“Fortunately, [President-elect] Trump has a very
strong vice president that understands Congress and Washington. I think he
could leave a lot to Mike Pence. I think Trump will do what has to be done
first. I don’t think he’s
going to think trade is No. 1 — the economy and jobs are No. 1.” —Bob Campbell, Chairman & CEO, BBC
“Footwear is one of the most traded products
globally, and so much of the industry depends on access to consumers and access
to supply chain in order to stay competitive. We have a lot of high duties and
trade barriers in the U.S., and so we’re going to be looking for ways that we
can tackle those duties and barriers. Brand protection [is also important], and
making sure that the value that we attribute to innovation and to our brands
and to the intellectual property is protected in both the United States and
around the world. I would hope that President-elect Trump — as someone who
understands the power of a brand — would really see this as an area where he
could spend some time.” —Stephen Lamar,
EVP, American Apparel & Footwear Association
The only footwear company currently known to be supporting Trump's trade views is New Balance—and they're taking major heat for it. Really though, here's a video of someone burning their New Balance sneakers.
Once Trump is in office, if things pan out the way many footwear executives are expecting, footwear won't be the only design industry affected. Stay tuned.
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Oh, by the way, winter is coming faster than Trump's inauguration. You might want some of these cool winter boots. With the flip of a switch on the inside of the sole, Gripforce boots magically transform into ice boots. They definitely could have used these in Game of Thrones.