Retailers Urge Trump to Rethink Tariffs on Chinese Goods

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Retailers Urge Trump to Rethink Tariffs on Chinese Goods

03/19/2018
Walmart is one of the major retailers to express concern with potential tariffs on Chinese goods that could raise prices on some items in the United States

In the wake of news that the White House is considering retaliatory measures against Chinese technology and intellectual property policies and practices, which could include widespread tariffs on a variety of consumer goods, The National Retail Federation (NRF), the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), and the American Apparel & Footwear Association, along with their respective memberships, sent a letter to President Donald J. Trump raising their concerns regarding the detrimental effect that broadly applied tariffs could have on U.S. families, in the form of higher prices on essential items.

Among the retail giants to sign the letter were Walmart, Costco, Target and Dollar Tree.

While the signers affirmed that they “support holding our trading partners accountable and using targeted trade remedies against intellectual property theft, illegal dumping or subsidies, and other proven trade violations,” they went on to express their fear that such tariffs would “punish American working families with higher prices on household basics like clothing, shoes, electronics, and home goods. As you continue to investigate harmful technology and intellectual property practices, we ask that any remedy carefully consider the impact on consumer prices. We must do right by American families while also addressing harmful technology practices.”

“As the industry closest to consumers, retailers know firsthand how high tariffs will hurt American families,” noted Matthew Shay, president and CEO of Washington, D.C.-based NRF. “If the administration’s latest proposal goes into effect, Americans will see price increases on a wide range of basic products they purchase regularly at their local stores. We agree it’s time to address China’s unfair trade practices, but we can do so in a way that doesn’t destroy jobs, create uncertainty for businesses and increase every American’s cost of living.”

Added Sandy Kennedy, president of Arlington, Va.-based RILA: “This is not American industries crying wolf. Higher tariffs will mean higher costs to businesses and in turn higher prices for American families. After a major tax reform victory, widespread tariffs on everyday consumer goods will wipe out much of the benefits realized by the average American household. We must do right by American families, and make sure they are not the ones who will pay for China’s harmful technology practices.”

President Trump earlier alarmed many American businesses by authorizing tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, although he did allow for exemptions for U.S. allies.