FINANCE

Retailers say Trump’s plan to boost tariffs jeopardize U.S. economy

BY Marianne Wilson

The nation’s two leading retail associations panned President Trump’s threat to raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese good from 10% to 25%.

Trump’s comments, delivered on Twitter, came as a Chinese delegation was scheduled to resume talks in Washington on Wednesday. Beijing has responded to previous U.S. threats by saying it wouldn’t negotiate under pressure.

“Tariffs are taxes paid by American businesses and consumers, not by China,” stated David French, senior VP for government relations, NRF. “A sudden tariff increase with less than a week’s notice would severely disrupt U.S. businesses, especially small companies that have limited resources to mitigate the impact. If the administration follows through on this threat, American consumers will face higher prices and U.S. jobs will be lost.”

French noted that while the NRF wants to see meaningful changes in China’s trade practices, it makes no sense “to punish Americans as a negotiating tactic.”

“If the administration wants to put more pressure on China, it should form a multinational coalition with our allies who share our concerns,” he said. “We urge the administration to reconsider this tax hike on Americans and stay at the bargaining table until a deal is reached.”

The Retail Industry Leaders Association also criticized the proposed hike.

“Tariffs are taxes American families pay — $24 billion and counting,” said RILA VP of international trade Hun Quach. “Raising tariffs means raising taxes on millions of American families and inviting further retaliation on American farmers which jeopardizes domestic jobs. We want President Trump to successfully reach a deal with China that puts a check on anti-competitive behavior. But a deal that increases tariffs on everyday goods will be a loser for middle-class families.”

A report from Trade Partnership found that increasing tariffs on $200 billion of goods to 25%, coupled with tariffs already in place and retaliation, would reduce U.S. employment by over 934,000 jobs, cost the average family of four $767 and reduce U.S. GDP by 0.37%, according to the NRF.

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