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Apparel, Footwear, Textiles Included in List of Chinese Goods Facing Proposed $300 Billion Tariffs

The Trump administration has moved forward with its intent to add tariffs to an additional $300 billion worth of incoming goods from China in a new list that includes apparel, footwear and other textiles.

The filing with the Federal Register late Monday wasn’t exactly a surprise given that reports over the weekend indicated that the administration was preparing to disclose which categories would be impacted by the proposed increase. That list was expected this week and possibly as early as Monday. The proposed tariffs are just that, for now. The proposal on goods previously untaxed has to go through a process that includes a public notice, and a comment period.

According to the information in the Federal Register, the plan is a duty of up to 25 percent on $300 billion of additional goods from China.

The information also has three key dates: June 10, 2019 for filing requests to appear before the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and a summary of the expected testimony at the public hearing; June 17 for the deadline to submit written comments and also June 17 as the date for the public hearing.

The American Apparel & Footwear Association was quick with a response, calling the new proposed tariffs “catastrophic.”

“This is a self-inflicted wound that will be catastrophic for the nation’s economy,” Rick Helfenbein, president and chief executive officer of the AAFA, said. “By tightening the noose and pulling more consumer items into the trade war, the President has shown that he is not concerned with raising taxes on American families, or threatening millions of American jobs that are dependent on global value chains. As AAFA has continually stated, tariffs are taxes on American consumers that result in higher prices, lower sales and lost jobs. While the Administration is in ‘no rush’ to get a deal with China, it is apparently in a hurry to impose new taxes on the American consumer.”

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According to the AAFA, a family of four will pay an additional $500 per year to cover the tariffs on apparel, shoes, travel goods and related items.

Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, the national campaign comprised of more than 150 of America’s largest trade organizations across retail, tech, agriculture and manufacturing, said the latest escalation means the trade war “will only get worse and hit home for every American. Forcing American consumers to pay more for clothes, shoes, toys and electronics and even food, while making it more difficult for exporters to compete, will do nothing to hold China accountable.”

The group added, “As we’ve said all along, we support the administration’s goal of reaching an agreement with China that addresses unfair trading practices. Tariffs are the wrong way to do it, and the proof is growing every day. To put more pressure on China, we need to work with our trading partners across the globe who share our same concerns, deploy creative alternatives to tariffs and look to agreements that set higher standards for trade in Asia, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

What’s more, Tariffs Hurt the Heartland noted, tariffs are cumulative, meaning that Americans will pay tariffs as high as 57 percent on apparel.

Matthew Shay, president and chief executive officer of The National Retail Federation, said the “latest tariff escalation is far too great a gamble for the U.S. economy.”

Taxing Americans on everyday products like apparel and footwear is not the answer, according to Shay, who also said working with the U.S.’s allies who share the same concerns as well as rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership are “more effective ways to put pressure on China without hurting hardworking Americans.”