Import Quotas on Shoes
I am shocked and surprised by your editorial (June 14), “Giving Consumers the Boot.” What you are trying to say is that the American domestic shoe industry does not know how to compete and you are concerned that quotas will raise prices on shoes.
From 1976 to 1980, when we had orderly marketing agreements , we also had inflation! Remember inflation? Your newspapers did not cost 25 cents at that time! During the period of inflation, when the average went up about 15%, shoes (under a quota system) were at the bottom of the ladder and only went up 4%. So you can see that the person who wrote this article did not do his homework. Don’t worry about shoes going up in price under quotas--they won’t!
The American consumer would love to buy domestic shoes; but the retailers love to buy foreign shoes. Why? Didn’t you ever stop to realize that the reason the retailers love foreign shoes is that they can get “triple markups” on the shoes and they cannot get it on domestic shoes? That’s because, more or less, domestic manufacturers police the markups here.
What is the use of spending billions of dollars for defense when we won’t have enough shoe factories in America to make shoes for the armed forces? What are we supposed to do in that case? Buy the shoes from Russia?
Do not compare this with the automobile industry when we are bringing in (even under the new quota system) 62 1/2% of retail sales from foreign shores. That equals 624 million pairs of shoes for the first two years under a quota. Don’t you think that this is enough shoes to bring into the United States? This figure of 624 million pairs includes shoes under $2.50.
For every million pairs of shoes that we make in this country, it creates 500 jobs in shoe factories alone, plus supplier jobs too. The International Trade Commission wants the American factories to produce 100 million pairs of shoes, which will mean 50,000 jobs in shoe factories alone and an additional 25,000 jobs in the supplier’s industry.
There is no economic sense to your editorial! It would seem to me, before you turn loose one of your editorial writers to write something about shoes, that you should ask for the correct information from people in the shoe industry instead of writing things they know nothing about. The only things you and your writers know about shoes is that you wear them and you can tell a left foot from a right foot.
Fabrick is president of Vogue Shoe, Inc.