NRF, Large Retailers Urge Trump Against China Tariffs
Some of the largest brands in retail today sent a letter to President Trump outlining their concerns about the detrimental impact broadly applied tariffs could have on American families. According to the letter, members and the membership teams of the National Retail Federation, Retail Industry Leaders Association, and American Apparel & Footwear Association fought long and hard to help pass tax reform. However, the industry is now concerned that any benefits from tax reform for retailers and families will be wiped out by broadly applied tariffs on everyday consumer products.
“We support holding our trading partners accountable and using targeted trade remedies against intellectual property theft, illegal dumping or subsidies, and other proven trade violations,” the signers, including Macy's, Best Buy, Target, Walmart, and Costco, said. “At the same time, we're concerned about the negative impact as you consider remedial actions under Section 301 of the Trade Act could have on America’s working families … Applying any additional broad-based tariff would worsen this inequity and punish American working families with higher prices on household basics like clothing, shoes, electronics and home goods. As you continue to investigate harmful technology and intellectual property practices, we ask that any remedy carefully consider the impact on consumer prices. We must do right by American families while also addressing harmful technology practices.”
Total Retail's Take: Retailers are right to be concerned. According to the letter discussed above, The White House said it would consider remedial actions under Section 301 of the Trade Act as part of its investigation into unfair Chinese technology and intellectual property policies and practices. Under section 301, the President has unilateral and discretionary action to retaliate against China. The retaliation package could include widespread tariffs on consumer goods, like electronics, apparel, footwear and home goods. That's why America’s retailers joined together to ask the president to consider the impact on working families before taking action.
“As the industry closest to consumers, retailers know firsthand how high tariffs will hurt American families," said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. "The administration’s latest proposal goes into effect, Americans will see price increases on a wide range of basic products they purchase regularly at their local stores. We agree it’s time to address China’s unfair trade practices, but we can do so in a way that doesn’t destroy jobs, create uncertainty for businesses and increase every American’s cost of living."