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Retailers Rail Against China Tariffs, Again

The NRF reiterated its plea for "a clear strategy" ahead of the July 6 duties.

Retailers, through their chief lobbying group the National Retail Federation (NRF), reiterated their opposition to tariffs on Chinese exports today after President Trump said he’s proceeding with the duties.

See: White House Says China Tariffs Back On

In a statement, NRF president/CEO Matthew Shay repeated his plea that “Tariffs are taxes on American consumers, plain and simple. These tariffs won’t reduce or eliminate China’s abusive trade practices, but they will strain the budgets of working families by raising consumer prices.”

Shea further warned that Trump’s actions could spark a trade war that would put recent economic progress at risk. “Once again, we urge the administration to change course and develop a clear and comprehensive strategy to hold China accountable,” he said.

The tariffs, which Trump said are in retaliation for China’s theft of U.S. intellectual property, are to be imposed in two waves, beginning July 6 with a 25 percent surcharge on about $34 billion in goods spanning more than 800 categories.

A second wave covering another 280 categories is slated to go into effect following a public comment period. U.S. companies will be able to apply for exemptions from the tariffs, the administration said.

The combined $50 billion in duties, coupled with China’s expected retaliation, would reduce the U.S. gross domestic product by nearly $3 billion and lead to four job losses for every job gained, according to a recent study commissioned by the NRF and the Consumer Technology Association (NRF).

The NRF also enlisted economist and actor Ben Stein for a TV ad in which he reprised his role in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” to explain why tariffs are bad economics.

Update: China has announced a series of 25-percent, tit-for-tat tariffs on $50 billion of U.S. exports, targeting goods that will impact Trump’s base.