Retail Groups Voice Opposition to Raised Tariffs on Chinese Goods
Late last week, the Trump administration hiked tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports to 25 percent from 10 percent, escalating tensions between Beijing and Washington. Trump asserted on Twitter that there was “no need to rush” to get a deal between the world’s two biggest economies and later added that the tariffs “may or may not be removed depending on what happens with respect to future negotiations.” The decision to more than double tariffs on Chinese goods has generated sharp criticism from U.S. business groups, and notably the National Retail Federation, the retail industry's top trade association. The groups warn of potential job losses and rising prices for consumer goods as a result of the tariffs.
“We support the administration’s efforts to deliver a meaningful trade agreement that levels the playing field for American businesses and workers," said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay, in a company press release. "But the latest tariff escalation is far too great a gamble for the U.S. economy. Slapping tariffs on everything U.S. companies import from China — goods that support U.S. manufacturing and provide consumers with affordable products — will jeopardize American jobs and increase costs for consumers.
“Taxing Americans on everyday products like clothes and shoes is not the answer for holding China accountable. Working with our allies who share the same concerns and immediately rejoining TPP are more effective ways to put pressure on China without hurting hardworking Americans. We urge the U.S. and China to get these critical negotiations back on track. Both sides will lose in a full-blown trade war, and the global economy will suffer.”
Total Retail's Take: Trump's hardline stance on trade with China has threatened the retail community as well as consumers, according to the NRF. Furthermore, it has generated a retaliatory response from China. Yesterday, the Chinese government announced it would increase tariffs on nearly $60 billion worth of American goods. An escalating trade war between the two global superpowers has financial markets on edge, with many anxious of the impact the new tariffs will have. Trump believes the increased tariffs will spur production in the U.S., creating American jobs in the process. In addition, the tariffs over time will generate more favorable trade terms for U.S. businesses exporting goods to China. However, the NRF and Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), another industry-leading trade group, believe the risk isn't worth it, and will ultimately end up hurting U.S. businesses and consumers.
“By tightening the noose and pulling more consumer items into the trade war, the president has shown that he is not concerned with raising taxes on American families, or threatening millions of American jobs that are dependent on global value chains,” said Rick Helfenbein, president of the American Apparel & Footwear Association.