WASHINGTON - The National Retail Federation told the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative during a hearing today that proposed tariffs on Chinese goods would destroy U.S. jobs, disrupt supply chains and increase prices for U.S. consumers during the upcoming back-to-school and holiday seasons.

“Prices will rise, and the economy will suffer,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said in his testimony. “Retailers cannot quickly change suppliers to find alternate sources for goods impacted by the proposed tariffs. It can take years to develop new supply chains that satisfy retailer requirements for volume, reliability, regulatory compliance and vendor codes of conduct.”

“Back-to-school merchandise will be arriving at U.S. ports in the next couple of weeks and holiday merchandise — already on order in most instances — will start to arrive at the end of the summer,” French said. “The sudden imposition of tariffs on any of these goods will likely be passed along to U.S. consumers.”

“Instead of tariffs, we urge the administration to focus the strategy on China on concrete initiatives to address the underlying barriers and distortions. This strategy must include clearly defined objectives, direct negotiating mechanisms with the Chinese, targeted deliverables and deadlines with measurable results.”