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National Retail Federation: New Trump tariffs are 'too great a gamble'

Adriana Belmonte
Associate Editor

The National Retail Federation (NRF) has voiced its displeasure over news that the U.S. and China escalated the tariff tit-for-tat after being unable to reach a trade deal.

“We support the administration’s efforts to deliver a meaningful trade agreement that levels the playing field for American businesses and workers,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in an official statement. “But the latest tariff escalation is far too great a gamble for the U.S. economy.”

President Trump announced that the U.S. would be imposing tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods. China’s finance ministry countered with additional tariffs randing from 5-25% on 5,140 U.S. products starting on June 1.

“Slapping tariffs on everything U.S. companies import from China — goods that support U.S. manufacturing and provide consumers with affordable products — will jeopardize American jobs and increase costs for consumers,” Shay said.

U.S. President Donald Trump stands in the colonnade in the Rose Garden at the White House on January 19, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

‘Both sides will lose in a full-blown trade war’

The White House posted a list from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative that details the goods that will be targeted by China with additional 25% tariffs. It includes a variety of agricultural products, along with retail items, like shoes and clothes. The NRF was particularly unhappy over this aspect.

“Taxing Americans on everyday products like clothes and shoes is not the answer for holding China accountable,” Shay said. “Working with our allies who share the same concerns and immediately rejoining TPP are more effective ways to put pressure on China without hurting hardworking Americans.”

The trade war is showing signs of ending any time soon. (Photo: AP Photo/Andy Wong)

The NRF cited a Tariffs Hurt the Heartland study, which found that “imposing tariffs of 25% tariffs on all remaining imports from China, combined with the impact of retaliation, would jeopardize more than 2 million American jobs, cost the average U.S. family of four $2,300 each year, and reduce the value of U.S. GDP by 1%.”

Many industries within the retail sector have come out against the tariffs, particularly footwear companies. Matt Priest, president and CEO of Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America, previously told Yahoo Finance: “Some types of shoes are almost 100% from China, and those types of shoes are, unfortunately, ones by working families.” He estimates that with tariffs, a $25 shoe could be hit with a 45% tax.

“We urge the U.S. and China to get these critical negotiations back on track,” Shay said. “Both sides will lose in a full-blown trade war, and the global economy will suffer.”

Adriana is an associate editor for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @adrianambells.

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