The issue

78% of consumers are concerned about the impact of the trade war on prices.

Source: Prosper Insights & Analytics, November 2019 Monthly Consumer Survey, conducted for NRF

Beginning in 2018, former President Donald Trump imposed a series of tariffs that sparked a trade war between the United States, China and other countries that is continuing to threaten the U.S. economy.

Why it matters to retailers

Retailers rely heavily on imported merchandise to provide American families with the products they need at prices they can afford. Tariffs are a tax paid by American companies that import products – not by the foreign governments targeted by the tariffs. And tariffs of the levels imposed in the past year are too large for retailers to absorb, meaning they are ultimately passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices. Many of the products affected by the current tariffs are no longer made in the United States, meaning retailers cannot simply switch to U.S. suppliers.

NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay appears on Fox Business on Oct. 29 to discuss tariffs and how it will affect the 2019 holiday season. Click image to play video.

NRF’s position

Tell the administration to end the trade war

Tariffs create significant uncertainty and disruption that is harmful to the retail industry and overall U.S. economy.

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NRF agrees with the need to address unfair trading practices and achieve fair and balanced trade deals, but tariffs are the wrong approach. Tariffs are taxes paid by American businesses and consumers. Instead of punishing foreign actors, tariffs drive up the price of both imported consumer products and U.S.-made products built from imported parts. As a result, tariffs jeopardize U.S. jobs and economic growth and raise costs for American businesses and families.  

NRF continues to lead the fight against tariffs. In addition to forming the Americans for Free Trade coalition with more than 150 other trade associations and helping lead the Tariffs Hurt the Heartland campaign, NRF has voiced concerns about the tariffs with the White House and Congress, and has brought together representatives of retail and other affected industries. NRF has also worked extensively with the news media, appearing regularly on CNBC and Fox Business and warning against tariffs in outlets such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg and more.

Go deeper

Learn more about the issue of tariffs on goods from China and how the trade war unfolded.

China tariff deep dive

In 2018, the Trump administration also imposed tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum from a wide variety of countries. Learn more about steel and aluminum tariffs

End the trade war
The trade war with China threatens U.S. jobs and raises prices on American families.
Take action
China Tariffs Background
NRF supports free trade and the elimination of tariffs which harm U.S. businesses and consumers.
Dig deeper
Steel and Aluminum Tariffs 
NRF opposes tariffs on steel and aluminum.
Learn more