September 5, 2019

Industry leaders fed up with tit-for-tat trade war

Trade groups welcome October trade talks, stand firm on pleas to roll back tariffs.

By DC Velocity Staff

The trade rollercoaster and its effects on the supply chain continued Thursday as the United States and China agreed to hold another round of trade talks in Washington, D.C., in early October.

The announcement, which came on the heels of a new round of tariffs on Chinese goods that took effect September 1, prompted an immediate response from the National Retail Federation (NRF), reiterating its plea for officials to end the trade war that began in January 2018. NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said the talks are a step in the right direction, and urged administration officials to roll back existing tariffs the group says is hurting businesses and consumers.

"This trade war has gone on far too long, and the harmful consequences for American business and consumers continues to grow," Shay said in a statement Thursday morning. "We are optimistic both sides will come together and make significant progress toward a trade deal that resets US-China trade relations and lifts tariffs on both sides."

Earlier this week, other groups expressed frustration over the tit-for-tat trade war as 15% tariffs were imposed on a partial list of Chinese imports, comprised of consumer goods such as smartwatches, Bluetooth headphones, televisions, and footwear. Tariffs on the remainder of the list are set to take effect December 15 and include even more electronics, along with toys and clothing. The new tariffs followed China's imposition of tariffs on $75 billion of U.S. goods in late August.

In an interview with Fox Business Wednesday, Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) Chief Operating Officer Brian Dodge said the newest tariffs threaten to hit the bright side of the economy—consumers—adding costs that affect their expenses and their confidence. He said retailers have done a good job of managing tariffs up until now, but that the newest round creates "unavoidable" cost increases. Like Shay, he says it's time to end the battle.

"We've reached a point in this trade war where we have no choice but to reach some sort of agreeable conclusion," Dodge said in the interview. "The President has assured us that there will be conversations this month, and we will encourage him to recognize the state that we are in now and reach an agreement that resolves these tariffs."

Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), emphasized the uncertainty of the global trade scenario on all aspects of the economy.

" ... this unpredictable tariff policy is forcing us down the wrong economic path," Shapiro said September 1. "Continuous threats of more tariffs and occasional promises that trade talks are progressing mean whiplash for global stock markets. That uncertainty hurts every American with a pension, retirement fund or college savings plan."


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