Industry Groups Praise Trump’s ‘Phase One’ Trade Deal with China

By Alan Wolf, YSN

Business associations representing retailers and the consumer tech industry lauded the Trump administration for reaching a “Phase One” trade agreement between the U.S. and China, but cautioned that more work needs to be done to normalize commerce between the two nations.

Matthew Shay, President/CEO of the National Retail Federation (NRF), the world’s largest trade group for retailers, said his association “strongly supports the administration’s efforts to address China’s unfair trading practices. But we hope this is the first step toward eliminating all of the tariffs imposed over the past two years.”

Related: Furniture Dealers Dealing with China Tariffs

Shay was on hand at the White House last week when President Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He signed the agreement. The pact calls for the U.S. to halve a 15 percent tariff on a wide range of consumer goods that was imposed last September, and to cancel another round of duties that was scheduled to go into effect last month.

Nonetheless, added Shay, “The trade war won’t be over until all of these tariffs are gone. We are glad to see the ‘Phase One’ deal signed, and resolution of ‘Phase Two’ can’t come soon enough.”

Gary Shapiro, President/CEO of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), representing CE manufacturers and merchants, echoed Shay’s admonition. “‘Phase One’ is a big step toward normalizing our trading relationship with China and ending this costly trade war … But market uncertainty remains until we see permanent tariff removal — or return the billions of dollars our nation has paid because of these tariffs.”

Shapiro has argued that tariffs are taxes on Americans, not the Chinese, and his trade group says U.S. tariffs have cost consumer tech companies a total of $17.5 billion.

Besides cutting tariffs on products like TVs, smart watches, wireless headsets and smart speakers, and postponing duties on laptops, gaming consoles and smartphones, the “Phase One” agreement addresses critical tech priorities including intellectual property protections and forced technology transfer, Shapiro acknowledged.

But tariffs on such items as desktop PCs, power adapters and connected thermostats remain in place.

“We look forward to working with the administration to ensure effective enforcement of the ‘Phase One’ agreement and the shift to a ‘Phase Two’ deal — one we hope will eliminate special tariffs on Chinese imports once and for all,” he said.

See also: Tariff Tussles Stoke Uncertainty … and a Ray of Hope