NRF: Tariffs Would Hurt Workers, Consumers

In testimony before the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the National Retail Federation spoke out against the Trump administration’s proposed $200 billion in tariffs on a host of items including housewares and various home products.

Jonathan Gold, NRF’s vp/supply chain and customs policy, said that the tariffs will not force China to change its “unfair trade practices” and will instead threaten to increase costs for American families and destroy the livelihoods of U.S. workers.

“The threat that these tariffs could be imposed, and even expanded to include all consumer goods imported from China, has already started a scramble among importers to find alternative sources of supply, including in the United States,” he said. “While you may think this is a positive development, the administration needs to know that the scramble is already bidding up prices for consumer products from all possible alternative manufacturers. Therefore, even if the administration decides not to impose the tariffs, higher prices are already on the horizon for American families.”

Specifically, Gold pointed to a recent NRF study of the furniture and travel goods segments that found tariffs on products in these two categories would cost American consumers nearly $6 billion more annually.

He added that the tariffs are particularly burdensome for small businesses, citing a recent NRF survey that found nearly half (46%) of small retailers anticipate a negative impact on their businesses due to proposed or implemented tariffs.

“The collateral damage to wide swaths of the U.S. economy will be significant,” Gold said. “This will only get worse as the additional tariffs take effect and retaliation escalates.”