President Donald Trump signed a partial trade agreement with China on Wednesday that marks the first step to curb the 18-month-plus trade war between the world’s largest economies.
The National Retail Federation said it welcomed the signing of the “phase one” trade agreement between the two countries, but said work remains to be done to end the trade war between the two countries. As part of the deal, the United States will cut in half 15% tariffs imposed on a wide range of consumer goods imposed in September and canceled another round that was set to take effect in December. But others remain in effect.
“NRF strongly supports the administration’s efforts to address China’s unfair trading practices but we hope this is the first step toward eliminating all of the tariffs imposed over the past two years,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay was on hand as Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He signed the agreement at the White House. “The trade war won’t be over until all of these tariffs are gone. We are glad to see the phase one deal signed, and resolution of phase two can’t come soon enough.”
The Retail Industry Leaders Association issued a similar statement, calling the deal “a critical step in the right direction towards restoring a mutually beneficial trade relationship between the world’s two largest economies.”
“RILA appreciates the administration’s efforts to deliver this deal,” stated Blake Harden, VP, international trade, RILA. “While this agreement offers some relief, retailers ultimately want a long-term deal that rolls back all tariffs and provides the kind of certainty and predictability needed to plan and invest while operating in a global economy. Leading retailers urge the Administration to conclude the phase two negotiations quickly to get us to that goal.”
The Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America trade group also weighed in, noting that while the agreement does not remove all the “punitive tariffs the Trump Administration has levied has levied against American companies and consumers, it will provide a little more certainty as we start the new year, which is key to job growth and retail price stability for shoe consumers.”
“Even with the removal of some of these duties, footwear tariffs will still average 12.2 percent with up to 67.5 percent on certain kids’ shoes,” stated Matt Priest, president and CEO, FDRA. “A dynamic U.S. trade policy would not just reduce tariffs back to pre-Trump Administration rates but would actually trim them further to spur economic growth and consumer buying power. This is a story we are preparing to tell policymakers in Washington, D.C. as we go back on the offensive in 2020.”