Brian Dodge, president of the Retail Industry Leaders Association, has issued the following statement following President Trump’s announcement deferring some tariff payments for 90-days. The order gives the Treasury Department the authority to direct Customs and Border Protection to delay collecting tariffs on those imports for the aforementioned 90-day period.
The president’s order allows the Treasury to defer tariff payments “for importers suffering significant financial hardship because of COVID-19.” It is not yet clear exactly what tariffs could be affected, but some U.S. companies are paying tariffs as high as 25% while dealing with lost sales and lower demand due to the widespread coronavirus shutdown.
“Allowing companies hit hardest by COVID-19 to defer certain duty payments for up to 90-days will improve liquidity and cash flow for those retailers who have closed stores during this crisis. As stores are closed and foot traffic has plummeted, retailers are taking extraordinary steps to keep their businesses running. This move will put these retailers in a stronger position to return to normal business operations as soon as it is safe to do so,” Dodge said.
The RILA president added, “While the deferral of select duty payments is helpful and warranted, the deferral of all duty payments for at least 180-days would do even more to assist retailers as they navigate this unprecedented pandemic. Millions of jobs are on the line, and we urge the Administration to consider further duty relief to help retailers put workers back on the payroll when this crisis abates.”