New York (AFP)
Previous tariffs established by President Donald Trump in the Sino-US trade war had little impact on consumers. It will be much different with those announced Thursday.
"It affects consumers head-on," said Steve Pasierb, president of the Toy Association, in an interview. "It's finished products, not raw material".
The new tariffs, a 10 percent tax on 300 billion dollars worth of Chinese goods, are due to come into effect on 1 September, according to Trump. They should concern almost all finished products imported from China.
Pell-mix: hair dryers, sneakers, flatscreen TVs, wedding dresses and other special occasions clothing.
The prospect of such expanded tariffs has been hanging over retailers for months. It is perceived as a "mish-muddle" by some in the sectors in direct contact with consumers.
"It's very unfair to the American consumer, it's very unfair to the manufacturer and it should not happen," said Stephen Lang, executive director of Mon Cheri Bridals in New Jersey and president of the clothing federation for brides and special occasions.
In a series of tweets, Donald Trump, who is seeking a second term, announced that his administration would inflict, as of September 1, "small additional tariffs of 10% on the $ 300 billion" of Chinese imports. until then spared.
But he also warned he could increase "much more" tariffs on Chinese products if Beijing did not accept US requirements. He mentioned the possibility of going "well beyond 25%".
A perspective considered catastrophic by Mr. Lang. "There is too much testosterone between this government and theirs (the Chinese, ed), and we find ourselves caught between two fires," he says.
- The affected detail -
Large commercial groups have also criticized the initiative of the US president.
"We support the administration's goal of restructuring the US-China trade relationship, but we are disappointed that the administration is relying on a flawed customs tax strategy," said the senior vice president. President of the National Retail Federation, David French.
"These additional tariffs will only threaten American jobs and increase the cost of consumer goods for American families," he said.
"Tariff retaliation, whether 10% or 25%, is bad policy," said Gary Shapiro, president of the Federation of Technology Consumers. "Tariffs are taxes paid by US consumers, not by the Chinese government.These tariff retaliations are not an effective trade policy and could violate US law."
Retailer stocks fell sharply on Thursday, with the largest declines affecting Best Buy, Target and Macy's. To a lesser degree, Apple and Nike have also lost feathers.
The shares of the Amazon and Walmart giants have also declined, but less than most of their competitors because they are perceived as having more weight with their suppliers.
In May, Walmart CFO Brett Biggs said his trade teams were working on tariffs "for months and continue to apply appropriate mitigation strategies," while warning that some impact on prices would be inevitable.
"We will continue to do everything we can to keep our prices low," but "rising customs taxes will drive up prices for our consumers," Biggs warned.
The Best Buy group refused to rule Thursday, but had already risen against tariffs in June.
"Best Buy respectfully suggests that the US Trade Representative does not impose tariffs on consumer finances, just as it did last year when it judiciously chose to waive the imposition of tariffs. on flat-screen TVs and other consumer electronics because of the negative consequences for consumers and the US economy, "wrote Best Buy in a letter.
- Threat to the economy? -
Thursday's decision could threaten consumer spending in the United States, a pillar of the US and global economy, which continued to post solid performances.
Mr Pasierb of the toy federation notes that the effect of the new tariffs might be somewhat offset by the fact that many retailers, as a precaution, imported goods from the beginning of the year.
But the extension of customs taxes is still a source of concern, "because if all these products become more expensive, you will have less money available for toys," he says.
"My great concern is that it will affect spending in the last three months of the year, which corresponds to our decisive period," he punctuated.
© 2019 AFP