WASHINGTON, D.C.-Fashion and retail apparel groups voice their concerns about tariffs on Mexico. Late last week, President Trump announced plans to impose a duty on incoming goods from the country, starting at 5%, eventually climbing to 25%, saying the measure would take effect June 10.
Pitched as a response to illegal immigrants crossing the southern border of the U.S., multiple retail and fashion apparel groups spoke out on the impacts of the tariff. Representatives from the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), the National Retail Federation, and National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), all voiced their concerns to WWD in a report on June 3.
Rick Helfenbein, CEO of the AAFA, one of the most vocal critics of the ongoing tariffs spat, tells the magazine the latest proposals are “unfathomable.” He cites the apparel and footwear industry’s 200,000 jobs that could potentially be affected. Helfenbein also notes that apparel and footwear sectors are already struggling with finding a plan for incoming tariffs on Chinese goods.
Kim Glas, CEO of the NCTO, echoes Helfenbein, telling the magazine that the organization is concerned the impact the tariffs could have on U.S.-Mexico supply chains which often feature a mix of raw goods from both sides of the border. Adding tariffs to these products such as those with U.S. textile inputs, Glas says “would significantly disrupt this industry and jeopardize jobs on both sides of the border.” Glas also suggests that the disruption and potential job loss will “accelerate substantially” the immigration issues the Trump administration is addressing.
On the retail side, David French, senior vice president for government relations at the National Retail Federation, tells WWD that tariffs on apparel and other goods put most of the burden on the consumer. “Forcing Americans to pay more for produce, electronics, auto parts, and clothes isn’t the answer to the nation’s immigration challenges,” French argues.
President Trump’s newest shot at Mexico differs slightly from previous measures towards China since many companies operate supply chains in North America that cover ground in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada.
Read the AAFA’s full statement on the measures here.