NRF: Proposed tariffs will be ‘counterproductive’

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NRF: Proposed tariffs will be ‘counterproductive’

By Deena M. Amato-McCoy - 05/11/2018
A coalition comprised of the National Retail Federation and other associations is urging President Donald Trump’s administration to rethink its proposed import tariffs.

The NRF, along with more than 100 other associations representing U.S. retailers, manufacturers, farmers, agribusinesses, technology companies and other supply chain stakeholders submitted comments on Friday to U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer. These thoughts outlined how the administration’s proposed tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports would harm the U.S. economy.

In March, President Trump announced that the United States will impose tariffs on approximately $50 billion worth of Chinese imports and take other actions in response to China’s policies that coerce American companies into transferring their technology and intellectual property to domestic Chinese enterprises. However, the administration’s proposed tariffs, coupled with retaliation promised by China, would reduce U.S. gross domestic product by nearly $3 billion, and destroy 134,000 American jobs, according to a study by the NRF and the Consumer Technology Association.

As a result, the associations are urging 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’s letter stated. “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.”

The group also proposed that the tariffs will be “counterproductive and undermine your efforts to change China’s policies and practices. 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,” according to the letter.

While the administration created the tariff to create leverage to change the direction of the Chinese economy, “that provides little comfort to those businesses, farms and workers whose livelihoods are being put at risk,” the coalition said.

USTR is scheduled to hold hearings next week to consider input from industries impacted by the proposed tariffs.

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