Retailers Urge Trump to Rethink Tariffs on Chinese Goods

Broad-based tariffs on Chinese goods would "trigger a chain reaction of negative consequences for the US economy", a coalition of more than 40 business groups led by the Information Technology Industry Council said Sunday in a letter to the president.

The package could be applied to more than 100 products, which Trump argued were developed by using trade secrets the Chinese stole from the USA companies or forced them to hand over in exchange for market access.

The groups represent companies, such as Apple Inc., Google and Wal-Mart Inc. But the White House confirmed to CNN last week that the administration is weighing tariffs on at least $30 billion worth of other imports from China.

- The nation's largest retailers are asking President Donald Trump not to slap new tariffs on China.

"We urge the administration not to impose tariffs and to work with the business community to find an effective, but measured, solution to China's protectionist trade policies and practices that protects American jobs and competitiveness", the groups wrote.

The administration is also considering clamping down on Chinese investments in the United States and imposing tariffs on a broad range of its imports to punish Beijing for alleged theft of intellectual property, according to people familiar with the matter.

The letter says that the groups agree that the administration is right to consider acting against China to protect USA intellectual property.

"It's not too late for President Trump to reverse course on steel tariffs", said AEM President Dennis Slater in a statement.

The organizations said in a letter sent to Trump on Sunday that potential tariffs on China would raise prices on consumer goods, kill jobs and drive down financial markets, Reuters reports.

U.S. manufacturers would face more expensive product components and disrupted supply chains, affecting jobs, the letter said.

Trade associations publicly pushing back against Trump's tariff plans include the US Chamber of Commerce, the National Retail Federation and the Information Technology Industry Council.

Slapping tariffs on imports of information and communications technology products from China would reduce USA investment in innovation and lower productivity growth, according to a report by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

"These persistent problems jeopardize US global competitiveness, innovation, productivity, and cybersecurity", it said.

A delayed approach could allow time for negotiations with Beijing to try to resolve trade issues related to the administration's "Section 301" probe into China's intellectual property practices before tariffs take effect.

  • Tracy Klein