Retailers, manufacturers and designers as well as tech companies and industry organizations represented the majority of the signatures in the letter. It’s the latest effort by Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, a national campaign against levies, supported by more than 150 trade associations.
In the letter dated June 13, the business entities — including big-name retailers such as Walmart Inc., Macy’s Inc. and Target Corp. — urged the president to return to the bargaining table and negotiate a deal to end the yearlong trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies.
In early May, Washington increased levies from 10% to 25% on $200 billion worth of Chinese products, leading Beijing to retaliate with duties of 5% to 25% on $60 billion of U.S. goods. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative also released a separate list of imports, including footwear, that could be hit with another proposed 25% hike in tariffs.
“We know firsthand that the additional tariffs will have a significant, negative and long-term impact on American businesses, farmers, families and the U.S. economy,” the letter read. “Broadly applied tariffs are not an effective tool to change China’s unfair trade practices. Tariffs are taxes paid directly by U.S. companies, including those listed below — not China.”
The letter also cited a study that found 25% tariffs on an additional $300 billion worth of Chinese goods — recently threatened by the president — would tack on more than $2,000 in costs for the average American family of four.
Puma North America, fashion designer Alexander Wang, department store chain Kohl’s and athletic shoe retailer Foot Locker were also among the companies signing on behalf of their employees.
The move comes just two weeks after five major footwear industry associations — including the Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America, American Apparel & Footwear Association and Sports & Fitness Industry Association, all of which also signed the Tariffs Hurt the Heartland letter — came together to send a joint note to Trump expressing concern over the impact of tariffs on businesses and consumers.
As costs grow within the supply chain, leaders of many companies have indicated that they may be left with no choice but to raise prices for American consumers. Such tariffs would also affect domestic manufacturers — considering that many materials necessary for production are sourced through China and unavailable in the U.S. — as well as footwear jobs, with a number of member companies already making attempts to relocate their supply chains outside of China.
Starting Monday, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office is scheduled to hold public hearings on the proposed tariffs.
“An escalated trade war is not in the country’s best interest, and both sides will lose,” the most recent letter ended. “We are counting on you to force a positive resolution that removes the current tariffs, fosters American competitiveness, grows our economy and protects our workers and customers.”
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