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Fashion and retail industries react to new China tariffs

By Huw Hughes


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The fashion and retail industries has reacted to Donald Trump’s announcement on Thursday that he planned to impose a 10 percent tariff on the remaining 300 billion dollars of imports from China beginning 1 September, 2019.

The American Apparel & Footwear Association condemned the President’s decision, describing additional costs for “hard-working American families” as “truly shocking.” Rick Helfenbein, president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association, said in a statement: “This decision will increase the tariff bill on all clothes, shoes, and home textiles, like blankets and sheets - products that already account for the vast majority of the duties collected by the U.S. government.” Helfenbein added that it was “concerning” these decisions came after just one meeting with the Chinese delegation.

The list of products, which was under a public comment period in June, includes all imports of apparel and footwear products. In 2018, 42 percent of apparel and 69 percent of footwear sold in the US was imported from China.

The National Retail Federation warned that a “flawed” tariff strategy would do more harm than good to the US economy. Senior vice president for government relations, David French, commented: “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.

French continued: “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.”

The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), applauded Trump’s announcement. NCTO President and CEO Kim Glas, said: “China’s rampant abuse of intellectual property rights and IP theft has gone on far too long at the direct expense of the U.S. textile industry and its supply chain, resulting in the loss of US manufacturing jobs in this critical sector.

“We have long encouraged the administration to include finished products on the tariff list, given China’s rampant intellectual property abuses and the significant impact it has had on our sector. We believe this move will lead to more re-shoring of production to the United States and the Western Hemisphere production platform—and will also address and mitigate China’s rampant trade distortions.”

Photo credit: Geralt, Pixabay

Donald Trump
National Council of Textile Organizations
The American Apparel & Footwear Association