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WASHINGTON – The National Retail Federation and more than 100 other associations representing U.S. retailers, manufacturers, farmers, agribusinesses, technology companies and other supply chain stakeholders today submitted comments to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer outlining how the administration’s proposed tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports would harm the U.S. economy. The groups urged the administration to instead develop a comprehensive strategy to effectively address China’s unfair trade practices by aligning with Congress and like-minded trading partners.
“The proposed tariff list and escalating tariff threats made by the administration will not effectively advance our shared goal of changing these harmful Chinese practices in a durable, verifiable and enforceable manner,” the coalition wrote. “Only through extensive collaboration and alignment can the administration develop and execute a strategic policy to effectively address our shared issues of critical concern in China.”
“We believe the proposed tariffs will be counterproductive and undermine your efforts to change China’s policies and practices,” the letter said. “There is no way to scope tariffs such that they would not impose direct and indirect costs on U.S. imports, inputs and exports in a way that strains the global supply chain and drives prices up.”
“We understand that the Section 301 tariff threat is intended to create leverage to change the direction of the Chinese economy, but that provides little comfort to those businesses, farms and workers whose livelihoods are being put at risk,” the groups said.
USTR is scheduled to hold hearings next week to consider input from industries impacted by the proposed tariffs. NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French will testify on Wednesday.
NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing 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. NRF.com
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