United States retailers urge Trump against tariffs

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The US Commerce Department said Monday it will begin accepting requests Monday to exempt certain products from President Donald Trump's steep new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

Wall-Mart shares closed higher Friday, ahead of a letter sent by the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) to the White House, highlighting the potential damage the tariffs usa president Trump is planning for China, could have on the U.S. economy.

The groups represent companies, such as Apple Inc., Google and Wal-Mart Inc.

Officials will consider whether the requested exemptions are for goods manufactured in the United States in sufficient quantity and quality before deciding on any tariff exemption, the department said. "Were this investigation to result in a broadly applied tariff remedy on imports from China, it would hurt American households with higher prices and exacerbate a USA tariff system that is already stacked against working families", the letter goes on.

U.S. manufacturers would face more expensive product components and disrupted supply chains, affecting jobs, the letter said. "Given the price sensitivity of our products, any additional increases in our costs would strike right at the heart of our ability to keep product competitively priced for our consumers". The tariffs would not need approval from Congress.

The letter is the latest example of the growing division between the Trump administration and the business community over trade policy.

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It also warned that if China retaliates against USA companies in response to tariffs, American companies would lose business and would be replaced by companies from other countries.

"These procedures will allow the Administration to further hone these tariffs to ensure they protect our national security while also minimizing undue impact on downstream American industries", U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a statement.

Sandy Kennedy, president of the Retail Industry Leaders Association, which organized Monday's letter, argued that tariffs would eliminate any benefit the recent tax overhaul provided the economy.

"As the industry closest to consumers, retailers know firsthand how high tariffs will hurt American families", noted Matthew Shay, president and CEO of Washington, D.C. -based NRF.

They urged the administration to work with them to find effective, alternative responses to Chinese trade practices.

Peter Navarro, a senior White House advisor on trade, said Thursday that the president would soon consider fresh punitive measures against Beijing over its "theft" of U.S. intellectual property.

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