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Kohl's joins retailers in opposing Trump tariffs

Kohl's joins retailers in opposing Trump tariffs”

U.K. Trade Secretary Liam Fox said he urged US officials to reconsider imposing steel and aluminum tariffs on the European Union this week, suggesting the move has upset America's allies more than the main culprit for overcapacity, China.

In a separate letter to Trump on Monday, 82 shoe companies, including Nike Inc, Genesco, Payless ShoeSource Inc, Under Armour, Shoe Carnival Inc and Weyco Group echoed those concerns. Trump justified the tariffs by invoking Section 232 of a 1960s trade law, which allows the president to unilaterally impose sanctions if imports are found to be a threat to national security.

A source who had direct knowledge of the administration's thinking told Reuters last week that the tariffs, authorized under the 1974 US Trade Act, would be chiefly targeted at information technology, consumer electronics and telecoms and other products benefiting from US intellectual property.

"We urge the Administration not to impose tariffs", the letter said, "and to work with the business community to find an effective, but measured, solution to China's protectionist trade policies and practices that protects American jobs and competitiveness".

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"Tariffs would be particularly harmful", they said. Trump said the Chinese government had forced USA companies to transfer their intellectual property to China as a cost of doing business there.

United States manufacturers would face more expensive product components and disrupted supply chains, affecting jobs, the letter said.

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.

Slapping tariffs on imports of information and communications technology products from China would reduce US investment in innovation and lower productivity growth, according to a report by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

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"Imposition of unilateral tariffs by the administration would only serve to split the United States from its allies, hinder joint action to effectively address shared challenges, and ensure that foreign companies take the place of markets that American companies, farmers and ranchers must vacate when China retaliates against USA tariffs", the letter said.

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.

"I'm glad they think it's a big problem, because we've been saying this for years", Robert Atkinson, president of the ITIF, said of USTR's focus on China's alleged disregard for U.S. IP.

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