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NRF: Retailers concerned about tariff escalation's impact

The NRF is concerned about the potential impact the U.S.-China trade dispute will have on retail sales in 2019's latter half.
Photo – Port of Savannah


The National Retail Federation (NRF) late last week expressed alarm about the Trump administration's escalating trade dispute with China, and the impact the tariffs could have on retail sales and the U.S. economy.

NRF issued its response soon after the administration announced Aug. 23 that current tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods will increase from 25 percent to 30 percent on Oct. 1. New tariffs set to take effect Sept. 1 and Dec. 15 on $300 billion in Chinese goods will rise from 10 percent to 15 percent.

"It's impossible for businesses to plan for the future in this type of environment," said NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French in a press release. "The administration's approach clearly isn't working, and the answer isn't more taxes on American businesses and consumers. Where does this end?"

Earlier this month, the NRF announced that retail sales rose 0.9 percent in July, seasonally adjusted from June, and rose 5.6 percent unadjusted year over year. The numbers excluded automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants.

July's results were strong, consistent with consumer confidence, NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said Aug. 15.

However, the data is a month old, and "the impact of volatile financial markets and increased trade tensions in recent weeks may put a wind of caution in consumer spending as we move forward in 2019," he said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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