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U.S. retailers urge Trump not to impose tariffs

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Chains say levies on Chinese goods will hurt Americans

WASHINGTON — More than two dozen retail companies — including Walmart, Costco Wholesale Corp., Dollar Tree Inc. and Target Corp. — sent a letter on Monday to President Trump urging him to refrain from imposing tariffs on China and alleging that American families would be hurt by such a move.

In a separate letter to Trump, 82 shoe companies, including Nike Inc., Genesco, Payless ShoeSource Inc. and Under Armour, underscored those concerns.

Major retail industry groups, including the National Retail Federation (NRF) and the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), promptly issued a statement in support of the letters.

The White House recently imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from many countries, an action widely seen as an effort to curb output in China. The Trump administration is reportedly considering new tariffs on goods imported from China as a retaliatory measure against alleged Chinese theft of intellectual property and corporate secrets.

“We support holding our trading partners accountable and using targeted trade remedies against intellectual property theft, illegal dumping or subsidies, and other proven trade violations,” the signers said in their letter to the president.

“At the same time, we are concerned about the negative impact as you consider remedial actions under Section 301 of the Trade Act could have on America’s working families,” the letter said. “Investigating technology and intellectual property policies and practices is critically important to our innovative economy. Yet 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 U.S. tariff system that is already stacked against working families.”

Matthew Shay, NRF’s president and chief executive officer, said in a statement: “As the industry closest to consumers, retailers know firsthand how high tariffs will hurt American families. If the administration’s latest proposal goes into effect, Americans will see price increases on a wide range of basic products they purchase regularly at their local stores. We agree it’s time to address China’s unfair trade practices, but we can do so in a way that doesn’t destroy jobs, create uncertainty for businesses and increase every American’s cost of living.”

Sandy Kennedy, president of RILA, stated that imposed tariffs could set the industry back. “This is not American industries crying wolf. Higher tariffs will mean higher costs to businesses and, in turn, higher prices for American families. After a major tax reform victory, widespread tariffs on everyday consumer goods will wipe out much of the benefits realized by the average American household. We must do right by American families, and make sure they are not the ones who will pay for China’s harmful technology practices.”


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