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Kohl's joins retailers in opposing Trump tariffs

20 March 2018

A letter dated Sunday and signed by 45 industry trade groups says that imposing tariffs would only hurt United States businesses and consumers and would not be an effective way to reign in China's worst practices.

The White House declined to comment Monday.

Among other things, the United States administration had accused Beijing of forcing USA companies to turn over proprietary commercial information and intellectual property as a condition of operating in the Asian nation. After a major tax reform victory, widespread tariffs on everyday consumer goods will wipe out much of the benefits realized by the average American household.

One person who discussed the plan with the Trump administration told Reuters the tariffs might be subject to a public comment period.

The Trump administration has already imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from most of the world, aimed primarily at curbing the excess production coming from China.

According to data from the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), 41 percent of clothing, 72 percent of footwear and 84 percent of travel goods sold in the US are made in China.

"Applying any additional broad-based tariff as part of a Section 301 action would worsen this inequity and punish American working families with higher prices on household basics", the letter stated.

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

Rather, the USA "should work with like-minded partners to address common concerns with China's trade and investment policies".

"We urge the Administration not to impose tariffs", the letter said, "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".

Both the NRF and AAFA were signers on the Sunday petition.

Global Times reported that Canada should not add insult to injury to China and keep China in the gun no matter how urgent Canada hopes to avoid USA trade sanctions, a spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in Canada said on Friday, in response to Canada's accusations that China is dumping cheap steel on global markets.

"Tariffs are a hidden tax on Americans-plain and simple", he said in a statement.

Kohl's joins retailers in opposing Trump tariffs