Retail Federation issues warning about increased Chinese tariffs

June 22, 2019

WAUKESHA - On Friday, the National Retail Federation expressed concern about possible increased tariffs on Chinese goods, saying it would have a negative effect on Americans.

Addressed to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, NRF urged the avoidance of 25% tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese goods, saying they would cause a negative impact on consumers in the U.S. 

“We support efforts to achieve better trade deals, but American consumers shouldn’t be caught in the crosshairs,” NRF Senior Vice President of Government Relations David French said during testimony prepared for a USTR hearing on Friday. “It’s time to reevaluate a strategy based solely on tariffs and work with our allies to put international pressure on China.”

He also said that for many consumer products found on the list of items that would be affected by the tariffs, there are few alternative sources of supply.

“It would be impossible for all market participants in our industry to simultaneously move sourcing to other countries. The capacity does not exist - In the short term, retailers would be forced to continue to use Chinese suppliers and pass on higher costs to their customers - just in time for the holiday shopping season,” French said.

During the hearing, he cited a new report commissioned by NRF and prepared by the Trade Partnership Worldwide projecting that American consumers would pay $4.4 billion more each year for apparel, $2.5 billion more for footwear, $3.7 billion more for toys, and $1.6 billion more for household appliances if the administration proceeds with the additional tariffs. NRF previously released research that found a TV made in China that costs $250 today would cost $308 after tariffs are applied, and that 25% tariffs on furniture and travel goods would cost American consumers nearly $6 billion a year.

In addition to French’s oral testimony, NRF submitted comments to USTR detailing the negative economic impact of the proposed tariffs on American businesses, workers and consumers.