The National Retail Federation and more than 150 organizations representing U.S. retailers, manufacturers, farmers, technology companies, natural gas and oil companies and other industries today submitted comments to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on the administration’s proposed tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports. The groups urged the administration to avoid further escalation with China and warned of the negative impact of tariffs on American businesses, families and workers.
“Continuing the tit-for-tat tariff escalation with China only serves to expand the harm to more U.S. economic interests, including farmers, families, businesses and workers,” the coalition wrote in a letter. “Our organizations agree that longstanding issues in China have negatively impacted many U.S. companies, and we support the administration’s efforts to negotiate meaningful, binding and long-term solutions with the Chinese government, (but) applying these high levels of tariffs on Chinese products will continue to miss the mark.”
“The negative impact will fall particularly hard on small- and medium-sized businesses and their workers, who lack the scale, resources and options to weather or adapt to these tariffs,” the groups said. Tariffs “are counterproductive and so far have only produced increased costs” for U.S. businesses and consumers.
The groups expressed concern over the administration’s suggestion that the United States might impose tariffs on all Chinese imports.
“The effects of the administration’s actions will most hurt the very consumers, small- and medium-sized businesses, manufacturers, farmers and workers the administration wants to protect,” the letter said. “Should all trade to and from China be subject to tariffs, the impacts and disruptions to the U.S. economy would reach across the entire country, from sector to sector, and negatively impact every American family.”
The letter said imposing a 25 percent tariff on a total of $250 billion in Chinese imports — including both tariffs that have already gone into effect this summer and those currently under consideration — would result in $62.5 billion in tariff costs for U.S. businesses and consumers each year. By contrast, the U.S. government collected only $33 billion in total tariffs on all global imports in 2017.
In addition to the coalition letter, NRF submitted its own comments to USTR regarding the impact of tariffs on retailers and consumers.
The National Retail Federation is the world’s largest retail trade association. Based in Washington, D.C., NRF represents discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs — 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.