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Retailers Urge Check On Trump For Tariff Relief

The NRF is turning to Congress to blunt administration trade moves.

The National Retail Federation (NRF), the world’s largest merchant trade group, is urging Congress to pass legislation that could put the brakes on new steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by the Trump administration.

The bi-partisan bill, introduced by Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), would require congressional approval of “Section 232” tariffs. The Section 232 provision allows duties to be levied to protect national security, and was employed by Trump to impede metal imports from U.S. allies.

“It’s time for Congress to exert its authority and play a leading role in mitigating escalating trade tensions with our strongest allies,” said David French, the NRF’s government relations senior VP. “With the threat of a global trade war, Congress must step in before the U.S. economy suffers, American jobs are lost and families are forced to pay more for everyday products.”

The tariffs are expected to lead to higher prices for everything from cars and canned goods to appliances and consumer electronics, and have already triggered widespread retaliation against U.S. exports.

See: Electrolux Halts U.S. Expansion Amid Trump Metal Tariffs

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) has similarly decried the steel and aluminum tariffs as ill-advised protectionist measures that will harm businesses, consumers and innovation.

“Imposing tariffs creates a dangerous race to the bottom, threatening the U.S. economy and the entire global trading system,” said CTA president/CEO Gary Shapiro in a joint statement with the FME, Holland’s equivalent trade group. “Previously uninvolved sectors will face retaliation, consumer prices will rise and domestic jobs will disappear. Tariffs are bad for the entire global economy.”

The CTA and NRF have also worked together to address Trump administration tariffs. A joint economic impact study released last month shows that the pending $50 billion duty on Chinese imports would result in a net loss of 134,000 U.S. jobs, while the higher price of TVs alone would cost consumers an added $711 million over the next year.