Inside Logistics

U.S. industry groups slam new Trump tariffs

Retailers, ports and industry group coalition urge administration to revisit "failing" trade strategy


August 2, 2019
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WASHINGTON – The National Retail Federation (NRF), American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) and Tariffs Hurt the Heartland all came down hard on U.S. president Donald Trump’s tweet that he will be imposing a 10 percent tariff on the remaining US$300 billion of Chinese imports starting on September 1.

NRF senior vice-president for government relations David French issued a statement in response:

“As we’ve said repeatedly, we support the administration’s goal of restructuring the U.S.-China trade relationship. But we are disappointed the administration is doubling-down on a flawed tariff strategy that is already slowing U.S. economic growth, creating uncertainty and discouraging investment. These additional tariffs will only threaten U.S. jobs and raise costs for American families on everyday goods.

“The tariffs imposed over the past year haven’t worked, and there’s no evidence another tax increase on American businesses and consumers will yield new results. We urge the administration to bring our allies to the table and find new tools beyond tariffs to achieve better trade relations.”

“AAPA is very concerned about the president’s renewed threat to increase tariffs on Chinese goods, and the expected actions that the Chinese government will make in retaliation,” said Susan Monteverde, AAPA’s vice-president of government relations.

“Among the biggest ticket items on the tariffs list are multi-million-dollar, ship-to-shore gantry cranes used by American ports to load and unload containers from today’s giant cargo ships. The president has the authority to de-list these cranes from the tariffs schedule and we urge him to it.”

On June 21, AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle testified as part of a panel organized by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) about the significant consequences of expanded tariffs on ship-to-shore cranes.  He made the point that, at a cost of up to $14 million per crane, an additional 25 percent tariff, which the President had earlier threatened to impose, would significantly increase the cost of each crane and reduce the ability of ports to make other needed infrastructure investments to improve the supply chain. His testimony also expressed AAPA’s overall concerns about tariffs.

Tariffs Hurt the Heartland is a nationwide campaign against tariffs supported by over 150 of America’s largest trade organizations representing retail, tech, manufacturing and agriculture.

“The administration is doubling down on a failing strategy,” said spokesman Jonathan Gold in a statement. “Nobody wins in a trade war, and raising tariffs further on American businesses and consumers will only result in slower economic growth, more farm bankruptcies, fewer jobs and higher prices. These new tariffs will target the products American families buy every day, ranging from shoes and apparel to toys and electronics.

“We all agree China is a bad actor, but an unprecedented tax hike on hardworking Americans is not the answer. It’s time for the administration to come up with a real strategy, put a stop to harmful tariffs and finally deliver the trade deal Americans were promised.”