FINANCE

Retailers warn tariffs will have widespread consequences on U.S. economy

BY Marianne Wilson

The nation’s retail associations wasted no time in responding to the White House announcement on Tuesday that it intends to move forward on implementing $50 billion tariffs on goods imported from China. The White House said the final list of goods subject to a new 25% tariff would be released June 15.

“China’s trade practices raise serious concerns, but job-killing tariffs aren’t the answer,” said Matthew Shay, president and CEO, National Retail Federation. “The lack of clarity surrounding the administration’s plans is creating significant uncertainty for American businesses, disrupting supply chains and threatening to undermine the economic gains we’ve seen over the past year.”

A recent study by NRF and the Consumer Technology Association found tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese imports, coupled with retaliation promised by China, would reduce U.S. gross domestic product by nearly $3 billion and destroy 134,000 American jobs.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association said it supports the Administration’s decision to hold China accountable for their bad behavior. But it strongly believes that “igniting a global trade war will cause casualties.”

“Retailers have said time and again that imposing widespread tariffs on items consumers buy each day punishes American families, not Chinese companies that steal American innovation,” said Hun Quach, VP of international trade for RILA.  “The President’s announcement to move forward on imposing the Section 301 tariffs puts American consumers on the hook for the misdeeds of Chinese companies. Conflicting messages coming from the Administration is causing whiplash for American companies that are focused on growing the economy and creating jobs here at home. We urge the Administration to keep their promise of minimizing harm on American families as they work towards solutions that hold our trading partners accountable,” Quach said.

RILA testified last week before the 301 Committee, an interagency group comprised of several federal agencies and submitted written testimony expressing retailers concerns to the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

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