Retailers and Farmers have gone on record with their opposition to an escalation of U.S.-China trade tariffs. The current round of tariff battles began in March when the White House increased tariffs on steel and aluminum. On Monday (4.2.2018), China responded with tariffs up to 25 percent on 128 U.S. products including frozen pork, as well as on wine and certain fruits and nuts. Yesterday (4.3.2018), Trump announced that up to 1,300 more Chinese items could be hit with higher tariffs.
Retailers say tariffs are a tax on consumers
The National Retail Federation (NRF) objected to the latest round of tariffs on Chinese imports issued by the Trump Administration on Tuesday (4.3.2018). The tariffs include as many as 1,300 products and $50 billion in Chinese electronics, aerospace and machinery products.
“Tariffs are taxes on consumers and a drag on the nation’s economy,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “This entire process creates uncertainty and makes it difficult for retail companies that must rely on complicated global supply chains. Tariffs threaten to hurt consumers, jeopardize job creation and increase the cost of doing business here in the United States. Once again, we urge the administration to work with our trading partners to hold China accountable, advance targeted solutions and recognize the unintended consequences of protectionist trade policies.”
The list was drafted to achieve “the lowest consumer impact,” according to Robert E. Lighthizer, the U.S. trade representative. So, clothing and toys were excluded. But Rick Helfenbein, CEO of the American Apparel and Footwear Association, said that machinery used to make footwear or clothing will be hit with tariffs. “This would directly raise costs on domestic manufacturers and impact our ability to grow Made in USA,” he said in a statement.
Agriculture groups also concerned
“If the trade situation continues to deteriorate, our lives as farmers and ranchers will become more difficult,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said when the White House first announced the steel tariff. “America’s farmers and ranchers export more than $20 billion of farm products to China – more than 15 percent of all U.S. agricultural exports. After Canada, China is our second-largest customer for ag exports,” said Duvall.
“Farm income across commodities has fallen by about 50 percent over the past four years. Retaliation in the trade arena makes our outlook even worse. This could not be happening at a worse time for American agriculture. We expect all countries to trade fairly, and we support enforcement of trade rules. But we also hope trade disputes can be resolved without harming an industry that is a bright spot on trade and is so important to rural America.”
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