During a hearing with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the National Retail Federation warned that proposed tariffs of goods imported from China would “destroy U.S. jobs, disrupt supply chains, and increase prices for U.S. consumers.” The comments were made by NRF Senior Vice Preside for Government Relations David French and represent a continued strong effort by the association to urge the USTR and current administration to ease its stance in the continued trade war with China.
“Prices will rise, and the economy will suffer,” French said in his testimony. “Retailers cannot quickly change suppliers to find alternate sources for goods impacted by the proposed tariffs. It can take years to develop new supply chains that satisfy retailer requirements for volume, reliability, regulatory compliance and vendor codes of conduct.”
In particular, French pointed to the back-to-school season, which (crazy enough) will begin in the next several weeks as retailers start pushing that merchandise to their sales floors.
“Back-to-school merchandise will be arriving at U.S. ports in the next couple of weeks and holiday merchandise—already on order in most instances—will start to arrive at the end of the summer,” French said. “The sudden imposition of tariffs on any of these goods will likely be passed along to U.S. consumers.”
A recent NRF study done in collaboration with the Consumer Technology Association found that the proposed tariffs would reduce U.S. GDP by nearly $3 billion and result in the loss of an estimated 134,000 American jobs. Additionally, if the tariffs were expanded to another $100 billion of Chinese imports, as has been considered, those figures would rise to $49 billion and 455,000 American Jobs.
Another recent NRF-CTA study found that a television set made in China that today would cost American consumers $250 would end up costing $308 after the tariffs are applied—an increase of 23 percent.