US retailers support congressional review of tariff hikes
today Jun 25, 2019
Following a year of mounting trade tensions caused by a series of measures imposed by the Trump administration – most notably targeting China – the National Retail Federation (NRF) announced its support for legislation increasing congressional authority over tariff hikes on Tuesday.
Introduced by Representative Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., a member of the House Ways and Means Committee’s Trade Subcommittee, the Reclaiming Congressional Trade Authority Act would limit any new or additional tariffs imposed on the grounds of national security to 120 days, unless approved by Congress.
The measure would also empower Congress to block non-national-security-based tariffs for which the administration fails to provide sufficient justification, in the form of an explanation of their associated strategy or goals, for example. This power would, however, be subject to presidential veto.
A companion bill to legislation introduced by Senator Tim Kaine, D-Va, in March, the new legislation would further require the administration to provide Congress with greater details about tariffs imposed for both national security and non-national security reasons.
“We agree with the need to deliver fair and balanced trade deals, but taxing Americans isn’t the answer – especially without a single vote from Congress,” said the NRF’s SVP for government relations, David French, in a release. “At a time when American businesses and consumers are facing unprecedented tariffs imposed unilaterally, it’s time to reexamine the appropriate balance on trade policy between Congress and the executive branch. This legislation represents an important step forward. We urge members of both parties to join this effort and protect hardworking Americans from a growing trade war that could destroy thousands of jobs and raise costs for families across the country.”
The NRF has been outspoken in its criticism of the trade tariffs imposed by Trump, having testified against them at a hearing held by the Office of the US Trade Representative on Friday.
The organization has also published a report which notably found that a proposed new round of tariffs would cost Americans $4.4 billion each year for apparel alone and $2.5 billion for footwear.
$250 billion in goods from China have already been hit with tariffs of 25%, with a further $300 billion targeted by the expanded tariffs currently being considered by the Trump administration.
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