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Imports at the nation's major container ports slowed in November 2018 after a months-long rush to beat increased tariffs on goods from China, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates.U.S. ports covered by the NRF and Hackett's Global Port Tracker handled 1.81 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in November, up 2.5 percent year over year but down 11.4 percent from the record 2.04 million TEUs set in October."With the holiday season behind us, the immediate pressure to stock up on merchandise has passed but retailers remain concerned about tariffs and their impact on the nation’s economy," said Jonathan Gold, NRF vice president for supply chain and customs policy, in a press release.Retailers also received much of their spring merchandise early to "protect consumers against higher prices that will eventually come with tariffs," Gold said.He added: "Our industry is hoping the talks currently under way will bring an end to this ill-advised trade war and result in a more appropriate way of responding to China's trade abuses that won’t force American consumers, workers and businesses to pay the price."Imports in December were estimated at 1.79 million TEUs, which would represent a 3.7 percent year-over-year increase. That would bring total 2018 volume to 21.6 million TEUs, representing a 5.3 percent gain over 2017's record 20.5 million TEUs, NRF officials said.