Major retailers from across the United States, including Menomonee Falls-based Kohl's Corp., have sent a letter to President Donald Trump urging him not to impose tariffs on goods imported from China.
More than 40 trade groups are petitioning the Trump administration to back away from tariffs on Chinese imports, saying the plan would "would trigger a chain reaction of negative consequences for the USA economy".
"The imposition of sweeping tariffs would trigger a chain reaction of negative consequences for the U.S. economy, provoking retaliation; stifling USA agriculture, goods, and services exports; and raising costs for businesses and consumers", reads the letter, dated Sunday. The administration is said to be considering targeting at least $30 billion of Chinese imports. The U.S. already levies the highest tariff on consumer goods (as high as 32 percent on basic clothes and 67 percent on shoes) among all categories of products.
The letter, first reported Sunday by the Wall Street Journal, is signed by 45 United States trade groups representing everything from the high-tech industry to apparel vendors, agribusiness and auto parts importers.
The letter read "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". "As you continue to investigate harmful technology and intellectual property practices, we ask that any remedy carefully consider the impact on consumer prices", the petitioners wrote.
After Bloomberg News earlier this month reported the options being considered, Trump tweeted that "the U.S.is acting swiftly on intellectual property theft".
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"The imposition of sweeping tariffs would trigger a chain reaction of negative consequences for the USA economy, provoking retaliation", the letter said.
"These procedures will allow the Administration to further hone these tariffs to ensure they protect our national security while also minimizing undue impact on downstream American industries", Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a DOC statement Sunday.
Trade groups have maintained their campaign to dissuade Trump from pressing ahead, arguing the tariffs would expose American companies to "a chain reaction of negative consequences".
Tariffs that result in reduced consumption of products would also depress financial markets, the groups said.
"I'm glad they think it's a big problem, because we've been saying this for years", Robert Atkinson, president of the ITIF, said of USTR's focus on China's alleged disregard for U.S. IP.