Published: Tue, March 20, 2018
Global | By Enrique Rogers

U.S. large retailers urge Trump against China tariffs

U.S. large retailers urge Trump against China tariffs

United States President Donald Trump is preparing to impose a package of Dollars 60 billion in annual tariffs against China, following through on a long-time threat, which according to him will punish China for intellectual property infringement and help create more American jobs.

The letter marks the latest in a growing rift between Trump and the business community on trade policies, as the president has begun to take more aggressive steps he says are needed to protect domestic industry.

The Trump administration "should not respond to unfair Chinese practices and policies by imposing tariffs or other measures that will harm United States companies, workers, farmers, ranchers, consumers, and investors".

They highlighted the potential impact, including higher prices for electronics, apparel and other products, and harming U.S. companies that sell component pieces of final products exported from China.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer recently proposed a package of tariffs on China, with the trade deficit with Beijing running to a record $375 billion (€306 billion) past year.

Another petition signed on Sunday by organizations representing a broader mix of industries, including technology and agriculture, advised the White House to "work with like-minded partners to address common concerns with China's trade and investment policies".

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Trade associations also publicly pushing back include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Retail Federation and the Information Technology Industry Council. As you continue to investigate harmful technology and intellectual property practices, we ask that any remedy carefully consider the impact on consumer prices.

The Republican president recently announced plans to impose tariffs on certain steel and aluminium imports, despite opposition from some business sectors.

One person who discussed the plan with the Trump administration told Reuters the tariffs might be subject to a public comment period. Trump said the Chinese government had forced United States companies to transfer their intellectual property to China as a cost of doing business there.

The Trump administration's decision on tariffs may come in the next few weeks, according to The Wall Street Journal.

China is likely to retaliate if the tariffs go into effect.

Several G20 officials, including the finance ministers from host country Argentina and Germany, said they will insist on maintaining G20 communique language emphasizing "the crucial role of the rules-based worldwide trading system".

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