AP Photo/ Evan Vucci
- Hundreds of company and industry representatives descended on Washington this month to testify about proposed escalations in the US-China trade war.
- Many retail companies warned that plans to target another $300 billion worth of imports from China would lead to higher costs for Americans and threaten US jobs.
- Here’s what they told the Trump administration, according to US Trade Representative transcripts.
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Hundreds of company and industry representatives descended on Washington this month to testify about proposed escalations in the US-China trade war, which President Donald Trump has said could take effect soon after his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the end of the week.
Speaking before US trade officials during the first two days of hearings, many retail companies warned that plans to target another $300 billion worth of imports from China would lead to higher costs for Americans and threaten US jobs.
The hearings were set to last seven days, with witnesses allowed to speak for five minutes each. Here’s what they told the Trump administration, according to US Trade Representative transcripts.
AP Photo/Gary Malerba
As production moves from China to other countries, compliance with existing regulation and standards is a serious concern. In some cases, American employees work in their partially-owned Chinese factories performing quality control supervision to ensure compliance.
This effort did not happen overnight. -Brent Cleaveland, Fashion Jewelry & Accessories Trade Assoc.
As we enter the third and fourth quarter, the period all retailers achieve profitability, they will see lack of customer enthusiasm for higher prices. Many retailers are already closing stores and price increases will surely hasten their demise. -Jean Kolloff, Quinn Apparel Inc. + Qi Cashmere
We make largely price sensitive, impulse purchase items. So further cost increases cause great harms. This concerns us greatly as a significant number of our members consist of start-up businesses and companies that have been in operation for less than five years. -Karen Giberson, Accessories Council
This scenario would be catastrophic for our company. -Jeff Fischer, Planet Gold Clothing Company Inc.
Because footwear is consumer-stable, and because China dominates the production of these items, every American will feel the adverse effects of these tariffs, which will simply be an additional tax on American consumers. -Marc Schneider, Kenneth Cole Productions Inc.
The cost of producing elsewhere in the world may be too costly too, as we are barely profitable now. That means that we either continue sourcing in China, and increase our prices, which will likely mean decreased sales, or we may try to move out which will take more than a year. -Mark Corrado, Leading Lady Inc.
I can say without hesitation that by raising or imposing these new tariffs, 25% tariffs, there will be disproportionate harm to our company, as well as to the consumers who have need of purchasing them. -Mark Flannery, Regalo International LLC
This increased cost will have to be passed onto consumers, due to traditionally low profit margins and their price sensitivity, making these lifesaving products unaffordable to much of the country’s population. -Bradley Mattarocci, Baby Trend, Incorporated
Imposing tariffs to punish the originating country also damages US supply chains and puts these American jobs at risk. While we recognize the issues with China’s IP forged technology transfer practices, we ask ourselves if the cost of tariffs to US companies and consumers causes more harm than the problem they are trying to solve. -Patrick Fox, VF Corporation
These additional duties and costs will result in higher price points in the long term and reduce demand and lower sales of their leather products. -Karen Gilberson, Patricia Nash Designs
Rogelio V. Solis/AP
I just want to make the observation that the threat of a tariff is the same as implementing of a tariff, due to the long lead time it takes for our supply chain to adjust. -Michael Jeppesen, Wolverine Worldwide
The proposed duties will not just disrupt our Chinese sourcing of these products, it will directly and negatively impact our employees. -Jonathan Viner, KIK Custom Products
Prices will go up; sales will go down; jobs will be lost. -Rick Helfenbein, American Apparel & Footwear Association
Based on our preliminary analysis of a 25 percent punitive tariff, we project millions in additional costs for our five New England factories. -Monica Gorman, New Balance Athletics
We think this is going to hurt the very people that the President, we think, has committed to when he stated, ‘We want to make America great again.’ We think that is something that needs to be thought through. -Sean Georges, Shoe Carnival Inc.
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