Retailers slam tariffs, saying they'll amount to $50B tax

Register now

U.S. retailers came out swinging against new tariffs that will be imposed against China, saying they represent a $50 billion tax on American consumers.

“Taxing American families with widespread tariffs on everyday consumer products clearly misses the mark,” Hun Quach, vice president of international trade for the Retail Industry Leaders of America, said in a statement on Thursday.

The remarks follow a White House announcement that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will levy tariffs on about $50 billion in Chinese imports. Within 15 days of President Donald Trump signing an executive memo on Thursday, the agency will come up with a proposed list of products that will face higher tariffs.

In recent days, U.S. retailers — and their lobbyists — have grown increasingly vocal about the impact of such a move. They argue that tariffs will force chains to raise prices on consumer goods and hurt American shoppers, who are beginning to feel the benefits of the tax reform bill passed last year.

“Retailers fully support holding our trading partners accountable when there is a proven case of intellectual property theft,” Quach said. But the proposal will hit U.S. shoppers, rather than its intended target, she said. “The punishment should fit the crime, and more importantly, it should punish the bad actor — China.”

Earlier this week, Walmart Stores Inc., Macy’s Inc. and more than 20 other retailers — accounting for a total of more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales — sent a letter to Trump urging him to reconsider the idea.

“In the U.S., those who can afford less pay more because the U.S. levies the highest tariffs on basic consumer goods,” the retailers said in the letter. “We must do right by American families while also addressing harmful technology practices.”

Bloomberg News
Retailers Retail industry Tax reform Trump tax plan Donald Trump Walmart