Retailers hopeful as US holds back on plan for more tariffs on Chinese goods

By Damian Brett

US retailers have expressed hope that progress made during talks between President Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping at the G-20 summit in Japan will lead to the end of the two countries’ trade war.

On Saturday, the US President said that he would hold off imposing 25% tariffs on an additional $300bn worth of Chinese goods and would allow US firms to continue to sell products made by electronics giant Huawei, reversing a ban imposed last month.

Companies had been preparing for the tariffs to be applied at the end of July, with one Canadian firm utilising extra airfreight capacity to avoid any supply chain disruption caused by a rush to move goods ahead of the tariffs.

US National Retail Federation (NRF) senior vice president for government relations David French said: “We welcome the progress made during this meeting and hope it will result in a constructive approach to working with China to deliver significant reforms rather than one that punishes American consumers and threatens US jobs through tariffs.

“Pulling back from the brink of further tariff escalation is a good sign for retailers and their customers, and we look forward to continued progress in the talks with China so that further tariffs can be avoided and existing ones lifted.”

Tariffs of 25% have already been imposed on $250bn in goods from China, and the Trump administration has been considering expanding the tariffs to virtually all Chinese imports by imposing the same levy on another $300bn

NRF testified at a hearing held last week by the Office of the US Trade Representative, asking the administration to reevaluate its strategy for dealing with China.

A report prepared for NRF found the proposed new round of tariffs would cost Americans $4.4bn each year for apparel, $3.7bn for toys, $2.5bn for footwear and $1.6bn for household appliances.


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