United States trade groups warn against higher tariffs

Major retailers from across the United States, including Menomonee Falls-based Kohl's Corp., have sent a letter to President Donald Trump urging him not to impose tariffs on goods imported from China.

Expectations of the anti-China tariffs have alarmed dozens of U.S. business groups, who warned on Sunday they would raise prices for consumers, kill jobs and drive down financial markets.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is leading an investigation into China's treatment of American intellectual property, and is expected in the coming weeks to hand over its recommendations to address any unfair practices to President Donald Trump. The agency will consider information about product supply in other countries to determine whether national security considerations warrant a tariff exemption, it said.

The letter is the latest example of the growing division between the Trump administration and the business community over trade policy.

Forty-five USA trade associations, representing retail, technology, agriculture and other consumer-product industries, on Sunday also urged the Trump administration not to move forward its tariff plan on Chinese imports, as it would hurt US consumers and companies.

The Trump administration is said to be preparing tariffs against Chinese IT, telecoms and consumer products in an attempt to force changes in Beijing's intellectual property and investment practices.

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Trump recently announced sweeping tariffs of 25 percent on imports of steel and 10 percent on aluminum.

"We urge the administration to take measured, commercially meaningful actions consistent with global obligations that benefit United States exporters, importers, and investors, rather than penalize the American consumer and jeopardize recent gains in American competitiveness", the trade groups said in their letter. Imports from Canada and Mexico provisionally were excluded from the tariffs.

"Save manufacturing jobs and say no to steel tariffs", the ad says.

The US Commerce Department began accepting applications for exclusions on steel and aluminum tariffs Monday, after releasing its procedure for exporting countries to request exemptions. Washington could impose more than $60 billion in tariffs on goods ranging from electronics to apparel, footwear and toys.

Several G20 officials, including the finance ministers from host country Argentina and Germany, said they will insist on maintaining G20 communique language emphasizing "the crucial role of the rules-based global trading system".

  • Sonia Alvarado