Walmart warns Trump tariffs may force price hikes

Walmart, Minimum Wage
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Walmart has issued a warning in a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer that the company may have to raise prices after the Trump administration moved forward with its plan to expand tariffs on Chinese imports.

CNN Money reported that two weeks before the most recent tariffs were placed on Chinese goods, Walmart made a plea in a letter to Lighthizer to refrain from placing tariffs on products like Christmas lights, shampoo, dog food, backpacks, vacuum cleaners and bicycles, among other items. 

“The immediate impact will be to raise prices on consumers and tax American business and manufacturers,” Walmart said in the letter.

{mosads}Despite the request from the retail giant, the Trump administration on Monday went on to slap 10 percent tariffs on those products in addition to $200 billion worth of other imports from China amid the escalating trade war between the world’s top two economies. 

“Either consumers will pay more, suppliers will receive less, retail margins will be lower, or consumers will buy fewer products or forego purchases altogether,” Walmart warned in the letter. 

According to CNN Money, 10 percent of the company’s sales last year were estimated to have been linked to Chinese imports or Walmart’s investments in Chinese businesses.

Walmart, which controls 10 percent of the U.S. retail market, also said in the letter that tariffs on imported bicycle parts would have negative effects on families.

“Tariffs on these parts would make U.S. manufacturing uncompetitive and drive up the price of bicycles for children and families,” Walmart told Lighthizer.

According to CNN Money, retailers typically order goods at least six months in advance. And due to the administration’s trade war, many retailers are struggling to find new options for the coming year.

The National Retail Federation warned in its own letter to Lighthizer that the Trump administration, which says it is using tariffs to press for more companies to manufacture goods in the U.S., is overestimating the ability of U.S. companies “to shift supply chains out of China.”

“Global supply chains are extremely complex,” the trade group said. “It can take years to find the right partners who can meet the proper criteria and produce products at the scale and cost that is needed.”

Tags China economy global supply chains Robert Lighthizer Trump tariffs Walmart

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