Retailers welcome initial trade agreement but final deal is needed
The U.S. and China announced Friday they have reached a phase one trade deal that includes some tariff relief.
The agreement, whose precise conditions are still being negotiated, cancels the implementation of a 15% tariff on $156 billion in Chinese imports, primarily consumer goods such as toys, clothes and electronics, which had been scheduled to take effect on Sunday, Dec. 15, reported the New York Times. A 25% tariff that the U.S. has placed on $250 billion of Chinese products will remain in effect, but a 15% tariff put on $120 billion of products in September will be cut in half, to 7.5%, the report said.
The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) called the deal “welcome news” for the retail industry, particularly amid the holiday shopping season.
“For months, retailers have been operating in a state of uncertainty about their supply chains and have done their best to prevent customers from bearing the cost of these tariffs,” said Austen Jensen, RILA senior VP of government affairs. “While this deal offers some relief, what retailers ultimately want is a deal that rolls back all tariffs and provides more certainty and predictability heading into the new year.”
The National Retail Federation (NRF) said the U.S. and China are moving in the right direction on tariffs.
“Tariffs create uncertainty and costs for American retail supply chains, and the trade war won’t be over until they are eliminated completely,” said NRF senior VP for government relations David French. “We agree that we need to realign our relationship with China, but tariffs that harm American businesses, workers and consumers are not the answer and cannot be allowed to continue.”
NRF and other members of the Americans for Free Trade coalition sent President Trump a letter on Wednesday asking that tariffs that were set to take effect on Sunday be suspended. The letter called for “a final deal that not only addresses our key concerns with the U.S.-China trade relationship but also eliminates the current tariffs imposed on both goods sourced from China and our goods exported to the critically important China market.”