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Nike, Adidas among 200 footwear companies asking Trump to step off tariffs

Top players in the American footwear industry want U.S. President Donald Trump to step back from new tariffs on Chinese goods, saying it could cost consumers billions.

Nike, Adidas, Converse, Crocs and Fila are among more than 200 U.S. shoe companies that have asked the Trump administration to cancel new higher tariffs that are due to take effect on Sunday.

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“There is no doubt that tariffs act as hidden taxes paid by American individuals and families,” reads the letter, which was also sent to U.S. Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin and Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro.

“Imposing tariffs in September on the majority of all footwear products from China – including nearly every type of leather shoe – will make it impossible for hardworking American individuals and families to escape the harm that comes from these tax increases.”

READ MORE: Trump orders U.S businesses to stop dealing with China, owners say move will hurt profits

Last week, Trump proposed a new round of tariffs on China – an additional five per cent duty on $550 billion in Chinese goods.

That’s on top of a 10 per cent tariff he lobbed on Chinese imports on Aug. 1.

The tariffs are supposed to come into effect on Sept. 1 but, in an effort to avoid hurting holiday retail sales, most goods will be duty-free until Dec. 15.

The type of goods in the crossfire of these tariffs? The consumer kind, like shoes.

WATCH: Trump says China tariffs ‘doing very well’ for the U.S.

The footwear companies say the newly proposed tax will be couched with an “already-high footwear tariffs” that average 11 per cent and reach 67 per cent on some shoes.

The letter states the added taxes, which would total up to 15 per cent, could cost U.S. footwear consumers an additional $4 billion every year.

“We are very concerned that this tariff action will create further economic uncertainty,” the letter continues.

“An economic downturn will take away from disposable income from U.S. consumers, even as they have to pay more for products. When consumers have less money to spend, we sell fewer shoes and this hurts U.S. business.”

READ MORE: Asian shares fall as U.S.-China trade war reignites uncertainty

According to the U.S.-China Business Council’s annual survey, released Thursday, 81 per cent of companies say they’ve been affected by the trade war, up from 73 per cent last year.

Nearly half of the 100 companies in the survey reported sales losses because of tariffs China has imposed on U.S. products in retaliation for America’s taxes.

Despite 97 per cent reporting that their operations in China were still profitable, only 52 per cent said they expect revenue from those overseas businesses to increase.

However, 88 per cent said they have no plans to move their business out of China.

Trump’s messages on China have been somewhat inconsistent as of late.

WATCH: Optimism running high for U.S.-China trade deal following G7

Talks with China are still underway, according to Trump. He told Fox News on Thursday that they will resume “at a different level.”

Trump has said in the past that he believes layering U.S. tariffs on China will hurt the country enough that they will be forced to renegotiate a trade deal.

This week, he expressed confidence that the two will come to an agreement.

“This is the first time I’ve seen them where they really want to make a deal,” Trump said during the recent G7 summit in France. “I think that’s a very positive step.”

China, on the other hand, denied talks were going on at all.

“I have not heard of the weekend calls mentioned by the United States,” a spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry said.

READ MORE: Media ‘greatly misinterpreted’ Trump’s comments, White House press secretary says

Experts have suggested that the back-and-forth rhetoric from Trump is complicating talks with Beijing and ultimately elevating the risk on their economies.

The U.S. and China have been locked in a trade war since last year. The tariff fight has been a sticking point in the war and has shaken financial markets globally.

— With files from the Associated Press

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