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Trump Threatens to Raise China Tariffs to 25 Percent — What This Means for Consumers

Another day, another pivotal development in the United States-China trade war. The latest news: The Trump administration has reportedly threatened to more than double the planned tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

According to Bloomberg, sources familiar with the deliberations shared that the United States may impose additional levies to 25 percent in a Federal Register notice as early as today — a move that would come three weeks after the administration announced plans to slap 10 percent tariffs on the same amount of Chinese imports.

In retaliation, Beijing said it would also levy duties on an equal dollar amount worth of US goods as well as increase regulation for American companies that are doing business in the country.

Many manufacturers and retailers have condemned Trump’s mounting trade war, with the Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America (FDRA), the American Apparel & Footwear Association and the Sports & Fitness Industry Association among the industry’s most vocal critics.

“It’s very difficult to see how this doesn’t negatively impact all Americans in every walk of life,” FDRA president and CEO Matt Priest previously told FN. “The president claimed that trade wars are easy to win, but what our industry has always known is coming true: Trade wars are costly, unnecessary and do harm to the American economy.”

Although the list of affected imports doesn’t include footwear, it does cite select handbags, travel products and other accessories. Steven Madden, Ltd. yesterday lent credence to trade organizations’ sentiments regarding the potential impact on American shoppers. Chairman and CEO Ed Rosenfeld, who is also FDRA chairman, told investors during the company’s second-quarter earnings call that if the tariffs were ultimately put into effect, it would be forced to hike prices of handbags made in China for US buyers.

“We and others will certainly try to pass on a good chunk of this to the consumer,” Rosenfeld said. “Everybody in our space is in the same boat. Virtually all of our competitors make most if not all of their product in that category in China.”

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