NRF CEO: Tariffs Are A ‘Huge Risk’ For American Consumers

Tariffs and Retailers

With news of the Trump Administration’s planned 25 percent tariff on Chinese imports circulating, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said the move could be very detrimental to the U.S. economy. In particular, the NRF’s president and CEO Matthew Shay told Chain Store Age that the move would be “another step [toward] throwing away the benefits of tax reform.”

“These tariffs might be part of an effort to bring about fair trade with China, but as we’ve said before, all we have seen so far is a huge risk for American consumers and workers with no endgame in sight,” Shay said in a statement. “It’s time to stop digging a deeper hole while we can still climb out.”

The news comes as some Trump administration advisers are pushing the president to set tariffs as high as 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports — a steep increase from the original proposal for 10 percent. According to the Wall Street Journal, the White House is expected to make a final decision sometime in late August on the tariffs, which are expected to target consumer goods and food, as well as machinery components. The president’s advisers, in favor of the steeper tariffs, believe it will make up for the rapid depreciation of the yuan in recent months. In fact, since May 30, the yuan has fallen 6 percent against the dollar.

“Once you go down the road of using tariffs to disrupt the Chinese, you have to say 25 percent compared to 10 percent,” said Derek Scissors, an expert on China at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), who advises the administration on trade.

The U.S. has already imposed 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports, and is set to levy similar tariffs on an additional $16 billion. In July, it was reported that Trump’s tariffs on billions of dollars worth of imported Chinese goods are starting to take its toll on the Chinese economy and could usher in a bigger stimulus for the country.