Retailers Urge Trump to Rethink Tariffs on Chinese Goods

Trump eyes tariffs on up to $60 billion Chinese goods; tech, telecoms, apparel targeted

Trump eyes tariffs on up to $60 billion Chinese goods; tech, telecoms, apparel targeted

The White House will decide on the tariff plan this week or next.

Wall-Mart shares closed higher Friday, ahead of a letter sent by the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) to the White House, highlighting the potential damage the tariffs U.S. president Trump is planning for China, could have on the U.S. economy. The president has pointed to America's $375 billion trade deficit with China and accused the country of stealing intellectual property from American companies doing business there. The practice, according to the White House's estimate, is costing USA companies $30 billion a year in intellectual property loss.

But the groups say they worry that imposing additional tariffs on China are isn't the best way to respond.

The business groups wrote a letter to Trump last Sunday acknowledging "serious concerns" regarding what they described as China's theft of trade secrets and other practices and policies, but they urged a measured response that avoided tariffs.

On Monday, Walmart, Ikea, Target and nine other large retail brands in the USA signed a petition to urge the Trump administration to halt the anti-China tariff plan.

The Trump administration is said to be preparing tariffs against Chinese IT, telecoms and consumer products in an attempt to force changes in Beijing's intellectual property and investment practices.

"As the industry closest to consumers, retailers know firsthand how high tariffs will hurt American families". The U.S. already levies the highest tariff on consumer goods (as high as 32 percent on basic clothes and 67 percent on shoes) among all categories of products.

USA officials should "work with like-minded partners to address common concerns with China's trade and investment policies", the letter reads.

"We urge the administration to take measured, commercially meaningful actions consistent with worldwide obligations that benefit USA exporters, importers, and investors, rather than penalize the American consumer and jeopardize recent gains in American competitiveness", the trade groups said in their letter.

Both the NRF and AAFA were signers on the Sunday petition.

"These procedures will allow the Administration to further hone these tariffs to ensure they protect our national security while also minimizing undue impact on downstream American industries", Ross said.

Added Sandy Kennedy, president of Arlington, Va. -based RILA: "This is not American industries crying wolf".

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