Footwear is an indispensable element of our everyday life. What is more, different occasions and circumstances require different kinds of shoes to protect or embellish our feet. After all, we cannot wear trainers for a business meeting or high heels for a mountain hike. That is why the footwear industry is significant and expanding according to consumer needs. Moreover, entrepreneurs are willing to turn to Chinese producers, as they offer goods of increasing quality at reasonable prices. Having considered the needs of those who are planning to import footwear from China, we would like to present a handful of useful information. One of the most crucial is the US tariffs on shoes from China.
Shoe production areas
China is the leading footwear producer regarding the number of pairs produced every year (over 12 billion). Most of the factories are based in eastern China, mainly in Wenzhou (Zhejiang province). There are over 3000 shoe producing factories in that region, mostly for the domestic market. Among the leaders, there is also Dongguan city (Guangdong province), with around 1500 factories producing 65% of shoes made in China.
Another major area is Jinjiang city in Fujian province, renowned for advanced production technology, as well as Jiangsu province.
How high are US tariffs on shoes from China?
Payment of customs duty is an obligation that concerns every importer buying products from China. Harmonized Tariff Schedule System provided by the United States International Trade Commission can help you find out about the current rates. If you need it, you can use a guide. Below, we present a list of exemplary products and tariff rates:
- 6401.10.0000 – rain boots incorporating a protective metal toe-cap (37.5%)
- 6401.92.3000 – ski-boots and snowboard boots (0%)
- 6401.92.6000 – waterproof footwear covering the ankle, made of poly(vinyl chloride) (4.6%)
- 6401.92.90 – other waterproof footwear covering the ankle, but not covering the knee (upper soles and uppers of rubber or plastic) (37.5%)
- 6401.99.1000 – waterproof footwear covering the knee (37.5%)
- 6402.19 – footwear with outer soles and uppers made of rubber or plastics, depending on value/pair (0% – 76¢/pr. + 32%)
- 6402.20.0000 – flip-flops (zoris) (0%)
- 6402.91.8005 – tennis shoes, basketball shoes, gym shoes, training shoes made of synthetics (90¢/pr. + 20%)
- 6402.99.3110 – house slippers made of rubber or plastics (6%)
- 6402.99.4920 – house slippers having outer soles with textile materials (37,5%)
- 6403.20.0000 – leather sandals (0%)
- 6403.51 – leather shoes covering the ankle, depending on value and materials used (0% – 10%)
- 6404.11 – sports footwear with uppers of textile materials, depending on soles materials (7,5% – 48%)
- 6404.19.15 – footwear containing textile materials with uppers made over 50% of leather (10,5%)
- 6405.90.2000 – disposable footwear (one-time use) (3,8%)
- 6406 – parts of footwear (0% – 33,6%)
The examples presented above show that tariffs on shoes are ranging from 0% up to 48%. The tariff depends on the used materials, as well as their value. There are numerous (over 430) categories in the system, and tariffs may vary depending on a range of criteria. Therefore, we encourage you to search for specific footwear categories in the system.
Additional obligations and a bit of advice for importers
Footwear is one of the product groups that need to be thoroughly checked for compliance with standards and regulations before being introduced to the market. Otherwise, your company might be exposed to severe financial losses and be obliged to send products back to China.
Shoes imported to the United States must meet the following standards:
- ASTM F-2412-2005 Standard Test Methods for Foot Protection (Protective Footwear);
- ASTM F-2413-2005 Standard Specification for Performance Requirements (Protective Footwear);
- ANSI Z41-1999 American National Standard for Personal Protection (Protective Footwear);
- ANSI Z41-1991 American National Standard for Personal Protection (Protective Footwear);
- CSPIA requirements for children footwear (ASTM F963 lab testing, Tracking Label, Children’s Product Certificate);
- labeling requirements (textile and leather labeling, country of origin).
Apart from compliance with the standards mentioned above, it is also worth considering other aspects such as:
- MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity; some of the factories might demand a minimum of a few hundred up to 1000 pairs, which makes this factor worth paying close attention to);
- shipping (as shoes, especially packed in boxes, take up a lot of space, it might be necessary to ship via sea freight);
- providing a detailed product specification;
- ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certificates;
- BSCI audit reports.
US tariffs on shoes from China – footwear fairs in China
If you want to get familiar with different producers’ offer and establish business relations, visiting trade fair related to a given field might be the best way. Below we have prepared a list of events that might be of interest to shoe importers.
Shoes & Leather Guangzhou
Date: June 2-5, 2020
Location: China Import and Export Fair Complex, Guangzhou
Official website: https://www.toprepute.com.hk/shoes-and-leather-guangzhou/
Cool Kids Fashion Shanghai 2020
Date: July 15-17, 2020
Location: National Exhibition and Convention Center, Shanghai
Official website: https://www.coolkidsfashion.com/en/about/
Shanghai International Shoes Expo 2020
Date: August 26–28, 2020
Location: Shanghai World Expo Exhibition & Convention Center, Shanghai
Official website: http://www.shanghaishoesexpo.com/en/
Global Sources Fashion Trade Fair
Date: October 11-30, 2020
Location: Asia World-Expo, Hong Kong SAR
Official website: https://www.globalsources.com/TRADESHOW/HONGKONG-FASHION.HTM
Canton Fair Phase 3
Date: October 10-November 4, 2020
Location: China Import and Export Fair Complex, Guangzhou
Official website: http://cantonfair.org.cn/en/index.aspx