U.S. Retailers call latest tariff threat ‘reckless escalation’ and ask Congress to intervene

The National Retail Federation tonight issued the following statement from President and CEO Matthew Shay after President Trump said he is considering tariffs on an additional USD 200 billion in Chinese goods if China does not yield to U.S. demands:

“This is just what we predicted – a tit-for-tat trade war has erupted and American families are caught in the middle. Higher prices for everyday essentials and lost jobs threaten to sap the energy out of the strong U.S. economy just as most Americans are starting to enjoy the benefits of historic tax reform. This reckless escalation is the latest reminder that Congress must step in and exert its authority on trade policy.”

A study conducted earlier this year for NRF and the Consumer Technology Association found that tariffs on USD 50 billion of Chinese imports would reduce U.S. gross domestic product by nearly USD 3 billion and lead to the loss of 134000 American jobs, with four jobs lost for every job gained. Imposing tariffs on an additional USD 100 billion of Chinese imports would bring the total impact to a USD 49 billion reduction in GDP and the loss of 455000 jobs.

The National Retail Federation is the world’s largest retail trade association. Based in Washington, D.C., NRF represents discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs — 42 million working Americans. Contributing USD 2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.