Tariffs are coal in Christmas stockings, retail group CEO warns

The Trump administration’s new round of tariffs on Chinese imports will negatively impact 91 percent of the retail apparel industry, according to the American Apparel and Footwear Association CEO.

Rick Helfenbein said the push to put a 10 percent tax on $300 billion of Chinese goods will result in consumers seeing higher prices during the holiday shopping season.

“Coal in the stockings, and stockings will be tariffs,” he said on “Cavuto: Coast-to-Coast" Thursday.

President Trump announced delaying the Sept. 1 impending additional tariffs on certain imports from China for three months to limit the impact on holiday shopping. The increased tariffs are now put off until Dec. 15, affecting an estimated 60 percent of consumer products.

Helfenbein is urging the president to reconsider what he said will ultimately become detrimental to U.S. retailers and consumers heading into the busy holiday shopping season.

“We’re begging the administration. We’ve been begging them for months, ‘don’t do this, don’t hurt the consumer,’” he said. “We can live with this economy a little bit longer.”

The U.S. has collected $63 billion in tariffs over the past year as of June 30 and its on pace to generate $72 billion in tariffs annually.


Helfenbein applauds Trump’s strong stance on China’s trade practices, but he cautions the U.S. economy may not be able to sustain the fallout from tariffs.

“The blowback on this will be really bad for the economy,” he said. “Really, really bad. Not a little bad, really bad.”