Tariffs

NRF CEO Matthew Shay on Fox Business discussing tariffs
NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay discusses the impact of tariffs on U.S. businesses and shoppers on Fox Business Network.

The issue

Beginning in 2018, President Trump announced a series of tariffs that have sparked a trade war between the United States and China and other countries that is continuing to threaten the U.S. economy.

Why it matters to retailers

Retailers rely heavily on imported merchandise to provide American families with the products they need at prices they can afford. Tariffs are a tax paid by American companies that import products – not by the foreign governments targeted by the tariffs. And tariffs of the levels imposed in the past year are too large for retailers to absorb, meaning they are ultimately passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices. Many of the products affected by the current tariffs are no longer made in the United States, meaning retailers cannot simply switch to U.S. suppliers.

NRF's position

NRF agrees with the need to address unfair trading practices and achieve fair and balanced trade deals, but tariffs are the wrong approach. Tariffs are taxes paid by American businesses and consumers. Instead of punishing foreign actors, tariffs drive up the price of both imported consumer products and U.S.-made products built from imported parts. As a result, tariffs jeopardize U.S. jobs and economic growth and raise costs for American businesses and families.  

NRF continues to lead the fight against tariffs. In addition to forming the Americans for Free Trade coalition with more than 150 other trade associations and helping lead the Tariffs Hurt the Heartland campaign, NRF has voiced concerns about the tariffs with the White House and Congress, and has brought together representatives of retail and other affected industries. NRF has also worked extensively with the news media, appearing regularly on CNBC and Fox Business and warning against tariffs in outlets such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg and more.

Go deeper

Learn more about the issue of tariffs on goods from China and how the trade war unfolded in our tariff deep dive

Learn more about steel and aluminum tariffs

Learn more about global trade

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