Retailers See China Tariff Delay as ‘Promising’ Move

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Retailers See China Tariff Delay as ‘Promising’ Move

Retailers See China Tariff Delay as ‘Promising’ Move FMI RILA
The threat of tariffs on imported Chinese goods has led to retailer concerns regarding a trade war

The news of a delay in the implementation of tariffs on $200 billion worth of goods imported by China, which were due to take effect Jan. 1, was welcomed by grocers and other retailers as a way to de-escalate the looming trade war that the industry fears that such tariffs will spark. The delay came about after President Donald J. Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 conference in Buenos Aires.

“The agreement between the [Trump] Administration and China to delay further tariffs and begin addressing the issues at the core of the trade dispute is a promising step forward for the retail food industry,” noted Andrew Harig, senior director, sustainability, tax and trade at the Arlington, Va.-based Food Marketing Institute. “No one wants a long-term trade spat to disrupt the value chain, as the longer tariffs stay in place, the more challenging it will be for small and midsized producers to stay in business. We hope for a swift solution and look forward to better understanding how these negotiations will serve U.S. retailers and their trading partners.”

Similar sentiments were shared by the broader retail industry. Referring to the delay as a “breakthrough,” Hun Quach, VP for international trade at the Arlington-based Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), said that “America’s retailers are encouraged by President Trump and President Xi’s decision to find a path forward that will keep America competitive, grow our economy and support the millions of American jobs impacted by trade.”

Added Quach: “Achieving a resolution that forgoes a 25 percent increase and any additional tariffs placed on everyday consumer items will benefit millions of American families across the country. We look forward to working with the Administration as they continue to find a resolution, which includes providing a product exclusion process for the third tranche of tariffs as was provided for the first two rounds of tariffs.”

In a recent letter to President Trump, RILA laid out retailers’ issues with the tariff increase and lack of exclusion process for List 3, encompassing thousands of everyday consumer items like apparel items and paper goods.