- U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has released a list of Chinese imports subject to tariffs instituted by the Trump administration in response to "the forced transfer of U.S. technology and intellectual property," according to a government press release. President Trump first announced tariffs last month on roughly $50 billion worth of Chinese imports.
- While everyday products like clothing and shoes are not on the list, trade groups like the National Retail Federation and the Retail Industry Leaders Association both raised concerns on Tuesday that the tariffs will negatively affect consumer electronics, TVs and home appliances. The groups also fear that tariffs on certain machinery could make U.S.-made products more expensive.
- China's Ministry of Commerce Wednesday responded to Trump's new tariffs by imposing tariffs of its own at 25% on 106 types of U.S. products worth $50 billion. Tariffs could affect soybeans, aircrafts and automobiles, NPR reports. Earlier this week, China also began imposing tariffs between 15%-25% on 128 items, many of which are U.S. food and agriculture products, like pork, fruits and nuts.
A trade war with China is heating up — and that's far from good news for retailers that source and sell numerous critical products in the region.
"It must be said, we have been forced into taking this action. Our action is restrained," Wang Shouwen, a Chinese deputy commerce minister, said at a news conference, according to The Associated Press. That sentiment suggests the tit-for-tat tariff measures may not be over.
The list of imports subject to new tariffs comes just two weeks after 25 retailers — including big-box players like Walmart, Target, Sears, Macy's, Kohl's and others — signed a letter to the White House warning that American consumers will pay more for goods if the tariffs are implemented. With apparel, shoes and other consumer goods off the table, that should calm some fears. But NRF CEO Matthew Shay urged the administration to "recognize the unintended consequences of protectionist trade policies."
"This entire process creates uncertainty and makes it difficult for retail companies that must rely on complicated global supply chains," he said. "Tariffs threaten to hurt consumers, jeopardize job creation and increase the cost of doing business here in the United States."
Hun Quach, vice president of international trade for RILA, also criticized the administration for not considering the complexity of retailers' global supply chains. "Tariffs on everyday consumer products will hit American wallets, not Chinese technology violators, and the presumption that any of these targeted products could be reasonably sourced elsewhere ignores the complexity of modern global value chains," she said in a statement