The Made in USA label is still coveted in many parts of the world. Some consumers, especially in Europe, will pay a high price for a pair of American-made designer jeans, many of them made in California. Now, the industry says it is being threatened by a new European tariff, which it says could cost California jobs and have an impact on other parts of the world.
The EU recently imposed a 26 percent tariff on top of the existing 12 percent on imported American premium jeans for women.
Three-quarters of the brands producing these jeans come from California.
Ilse Metchek, of the California Fashion Association, says the tariff could send jobs to other countries and impact the local economy.
“The companies will make their jeans in Mexico, in South America,” she said.
Peter Kim, the founder of Hudson Jeans and a connoisseur of high-end American-made jeans, also warns the consequences could be dire.
“It’s just trying to decimate all of our business out here,” he said.
For now, Hudson Jeans says it will absorb the tariff so consumers won’t have to pay more for their jeans. It will also continue making jeans in Los Angeles.
At the same time, U.S. manufacturers hope that in upcoming talks between the U.S. and the European Union, leaders will find a fix for the high tariff on premium jeans.