NRF: Schumer Amendment Will Backfire

May 07, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

The National Retail Federation (NRF) is lobbying senators to reject a proposed amendment to S. 1637, the Jumpstart Our Business Strength Act, that would add levies to goods made in China unless the Asian nation makes changes to its currency exchange rate.

The amendment proposed by New York’s Chuck Schumer (D) seeks to penalize countries that engage in what the senator calls unfair trade policies while offering tax reductions for goods produced in the U.S.

The Schumer amendment, if approved, would impose a 27.5 percent tariff on all Chinese goods if the country didn’t adjust its exchange rate within a two-year deadline.

According to a press release, Steve Pfister, senior vice president for Government Relations for NRF believes, “The Schumer amendment would harm the U.S. retail industry, which relies heavily on China to provide affordable merchandise, and would force retailers to import products from other low-cost foreign suppliers rather than increasing U.S. jobs or reducing the trade deficit. U.S. manufacturing, in fact, would be harmed because of price increases for components imported from China by manufacturers. The move could also drive up U.S. interest rates because it would force China to sell off U.S. Treasury bonds, in turn suppressing consumer spending that has been the main support of the U.S. economy. The amendment would also violate international trade rules, exposing the United States to possible trade retaliation and undermining U.S.-China political and economic relations.”

Moderator’s Comment: Should the Senate approve Senator Schumer’s amendment to S. 1637?

As the Senator himself has admitted, his amendment will not do much to keep manufacturing jobs in the U.S. If it won’t, what’s the point beyond generating
publicity for the Senator?

George Anderson – Moderator

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