NRF: US Congress Gets to Review Future Tariff Hikes

Container portIllustration. Source: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license

The National Retail Federation has expressed its support for the legislation that would strengthen congressional authority over tariff increases being imposed by the Trump administration.

“We agree with the need to deliver fair and balanced trade deals, but taxing Americans isn’t the answer — especially without a single vote from Congress,” David French, NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations, said.

The Reclaiming Congressional Trade Authority Act would limit any new or additional tariffs imposed on national security grounds – including those under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, the International Emergency Economic Powers Act or the Trading with the Enemy Act – to 120 days unless approved by Congress. Section 232 was the grounds for tariffs on steel and aluminum imposed last year.

The measure would increase and formalize the role of Congress in non-national security tariffs, including those under Section 301 of the U.S. Trade Act of 1974, the law under which recent tariffs on goods from China have been imposed.

The administration would be required to provide Congress with goals and strategy behind proposed tariff actions, and Congress would be able to block the tariffs through a joint resolution of disapproval, subject to presidential veto.

The bill would also require the administration to provide Congress with more information on both national security and non-national security tariffs.

Tariffs of 25 percent have already been imposed on USD 250 billion in goods from China, and the Trump administration is currently considering expanding the tariffs to virtually all Chinese imports by imposing the same levy on another USD 300 billion.

A new report prepared for NRF found the proposed new round of tariffs would cost Americans USD 4.4 billion each year for apparel, USD 3.7 billion for toys, USD 2.5 billion for footwear and USD 1.6 billion for household appliances.

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