In a tweet Friday, the president said he would delay the next batch of tariffs set to take effect by two weeks.
“At the request of the Vice Premier of China, Liu He, and due to the fact that the People’s Republic of China will be celebrating their 70th Anniversary….on October 1st, we have agreed, as a gesture of good will, to move the increased Tariffs on 250 Billion Dollars worth of goods (25% to 30%), from October 1st to October 15th,” Trump tweeted.
The move may ultimately matter little to U.S. business still struggling to reconcile the 15 percent Tranche 4 tariffs that took effect on Sept. 1, and fretting further still over a 30 percent tariff rate (from a previous tranche of goods already being tariffed at 25 percent and facing the 5 percent hike as a penance for China’s retaliation with its own new tariffs on American goods) that will now take effect two weeks later. And that says nothing of the remaining rollout of the Tranche 4 15 percent tariffs slated for Dec. 15.
In a letter sent late last month, retailers implored the president to consider delaying tariffs since he’s offered them little time to prepare for the new reality, but two weeks will hardly move the needle on any supply chain restrategizing.
And that means holiday retail could still be dealt a major blow.
“A large portion of holiday merchandise will still be hit by September and October tariff increases at an even higher rate than was initially anticipated,” the letter, signed by retailers and retail organizations in support of the Americans for Free Trade Coalition, noted. “With some products facing tariffs as high as 30 percent, many businesses will have no choice but to pass along those costs to consumers. Price increases will likely hit shoppers just as they are making their holiday purchases.”
Retailers have been battling over whether to raise prices for an already sensitive consumer, but several have already put new pricing in place.