Retailers urge Congress to pass tariff relief legislation

WASHINGTON — The National Retail Federation called on Congress to pass legislation introduced today that would require that a process be established to exclude some items from the Trump administration’s tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports.

“We are encouraged by the progress made between the United States and China, but tariffs are still taking a toll on hardworking Americans across the country,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said. “Establishing a timely and efficient tariff exclusion process is the least Washington can do for American businesses that have no alternative supplier and for working families that rely on everyday products. We are grateful for the bipartisan, bicameral leadership of Senators Lankford and Coons and Representatives Kind and Walorski, and we urge Congress to move swiftly in approving this commonsense legislation.”

The first two lists of tariffs on Chinese imports, imposed last summer under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, included exclusion processes, allowing American importers to apply for tariff relief. However, the third list, which took effect last September and targeted $200 billion of Chinese goods, including many consumer products, does not have an exclusion process.

The Import Tax Relief Act, introduced today by Senators James Lankford, R-Okla., and Chris Coons, D-Del., and Representatives Ron J. Kind, D-Wis., and Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., would require the administration to provide an exclusion process for the third tariff list and any future tariffs under Section 301. Under the legislation, exclusions would be required to be granted for imports that have no commercial availability outside of China, those for which a tariff would cause an increase in consumer prices for low- and middle-income families, and those that do not directly benefit from China’s non-market policies, including elements of its “Made in China 2025” program.

According to data released by Tariffs Hurt the Heartland – a campaign backed by NRF – recent tariffs imposed by the administration cost U.S. businesses $2.7 billion in November 2018 alone.

About NRF

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.