Proposal Would Tax Chinese Imports

April 15, 2005 - 11:34

The National Retail Federation (NRF) recently urged the Senate to reject an amendment offered by Senator Charles Schumer D-N.Y. that would impose a 27 1/2-percent duty on all imports from China unless China agrees to revalue its currency.

"The Schumer amendment is a sledgehammer approach to an issue that is being properly addressed through sensible diplomacy and the tools already available under U.S. law," Tracy Mullin, NRF president and CEO said. "This proposal would amount to a huge new tax on U.S. consumers at a time when they're already stretching their dollars to meet record-high gasoline prices. It would merely shift foreign trade to other countries, driving up U.S. prices while doing nothing to reduce the trade deficit or protect U.S. jobs. Senator Schumer can't be allowed to play political games at the expense of U.S. consumers. U.S. retailers are absolutely opposed to the Schumer tax."

Schumer offered the proposal as an amendment to S. 600, the Foreign Affairs Authorization Act. Senate Republican leaders attempted to kill the amendment by moving to table it, but the motion was defeated 67-33. Senators have yet to vote on the amendment itself, but the overwhelming vote against the motion indicates that it could be approved.

Mullin wrote to each member of the Senate urging them to reject the Schumer amendment as part of the foreign affairs bill. She also asked senators to keep the amendment off any other bills should Schumer attempt to attach it to a different measure, and to reject S. 292, the standalone bill Schumer introduced in February that would impose the same tariff as the amendment.

Mullin argued that the Schumer proposal would drive up prices for U.S. consumers and cost U.S. retail jobs. In addition, U.S. manufacturers who import components for their products from China would also be harmed. The proposal would also undermine U.S.-China political and economic relations and expose the United States to billions of dollars in possible trade retaliation by violating international trade rules. For more information on this bill visit www.nrf.com.

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