OPERATIONS

Tariffs could represent one of ‘largest tax increases’ in U.S. history

BY Marianne Wilson

A coalition of more than 160 business associations sent a letter to President Trump urging him to postpone all tariff increases on Chinese goods that are scheduled to take effect this year.

“These tariff rate increases – some starting as early as Sunday – come at the worst possible time, right in the middle of the busy holiday shipping period,” said the letter, which was sent by the Americans for Free Trade, a coalition whose members include the National Retail Federation, Retail Industry Leaders Association, Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America, Consumer Technology Association and Council of Fashion Designers of America to name but a few. “Action is needed by you to protect American businesses, workers and consumers this holiday season.”

The letter noted that in remarks earlier this month, the president recognized that delaying some tariffs would avoid hurting American consumers over the holidays.

“Unfortunately, a large portion of holiday merchandise will still be hit by September and October tariff increases at an even higher rate than was initially anticipated,” the letter stated. “With some products facing tariffs as high as 30 percent, many businesses will have no choice but to pass along those costs to consumers. Price increases will likely hit shoppers just as they are making their holiday purchases.”

Because these tariffs were announced with little warning, the letter said, it is impossible for U.S. importers to share the burden with supply chain partners in China or shift their production to other countries.

“The full adverse impact of these tariff increases will be felt entirely in the United States and could represent one of the largest tax increases in American history,” the letter said.

In a separate letter, more than 200 American footwear companies sent a letter to President Trump urging him to cancel the upcoming tariffs on shoes that are set to take effect on Sunday. The letter was signed by both small and independent shoe stores and larger footwear brands and retailers.

“We’ve been telling the White House since the beginning that tariffs will be paid by Americans in the form of higher prices, and that due to our already high import taxes, this will be a job killer,” said Matt Priest, president and CEO, Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America. “American footwear companies both large and small have signed this letter urging the President to put an end to his planned taxes on American consumers. It is vitally important that the President knows his new taxes are going to hurt both their employees and families who buy shoes.”

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