Walmart, Target CEOs Send Trump Letter, Warns His Tariffs Will Cause Them To Raise Prices On US Customers

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 In a letter to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the company said expanded tariffs on Chinese imports would hurt its customers, its suppliers and the US economy.
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“The immediate impact will be to raise prices on consumers and tax American business and manufacturers,” Walmart said.

The administration was unmoved. On Monday, it pressed forward with 10% tariffs on those products and $200 billion worth of other imports from China. The tariffs, which take effect next week, will jump to 25% at the end of the year.

The latest round of tariffs brings the US trade war with China directly to Walmart,  the country’s largest retailer, and hits the everyday products it sells.

 

 

Other retailers and consumer goods companies, including Ace Hardware and Joann fabric and craft stores, also lobbied the administration.

 

Target  said the tariffs will “hurt American consumers,” and said working families will pay more for school and college essentials like notebooks, calculators, binders and desks.

 

The administration did not bend to the company’s plea. It imposed tariffs on those goods — although it did spare bicycle helmets, high chairs, car seats and playpens from the final list. It also left off Apple Watches and Air Pods, a reprieve for Apple.

 

Target and Walmart will now face a tough choice: They can absorb the higher costs from tariffs by taking a hit to their profit margins, or they can pass some of the price increases on to their customers.

 

“Either consumers will pay more, suppliers will receive less, retail margins will be lower, or consumers will buy fewer products or forego purchases altogether,” Walmart warned in its letter.

 

The National Retail Federation, a trade group, estimated that a 25% tariff on furniture would cost Americans $4.5 billion more per year, while a 25% levy on travel items like luggage and handbags would cost an additional $1.2 billion.

 

Washing machines were an early example of how tariffs filter down to shoppers. The Trump administration imposed a 20% trade penalty on washers earlier this year, and laundry equipment prices spiked close to 20% in recent months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

 

Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy:   AP
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