NRF warns USTR to avoid additional tariffs, releases study on consumer impact

WASHINGTON – The National Retail Federation today urged the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to avoid 25 percent tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese goods and released a new study examining key product categories and the negative impact on American consumers.  

“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

“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 this afternoon. “It’s time to reevaluate a strategy based solely on tariffs and work with our allies to put international pressure on China.”

“For most of the consumer products on this list, there are very few alternative sources of supply,” French added. “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 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 percent tariffs on furniture and travel goods would cost American consumers nearly $6 billion a year.

As part of monthly consumer surveys conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, NRF has been tracking the public’s growing concern over the trade war. The June survey found 81 percent of consumers are “concerned the ongoing trade war will cause prices to increase,” an increase of 12 percentage points since November 2018.


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.

About NRF

The National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, passionately advocates for the people, brands, policies and ideas that help retail thrive. From its headquarters in Washington, D.C., NRF empowers the industry that powers the economy. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP and supporting one in four U.S. jobs — 42 million working Americans. For over a century, NRF has been a voice for every retailer and every retail job, educating, inspiring and communicating the powerful impact retail has on local communities and global economies.