Outrage over the trade war President Donald Trump has sparked with China via his punitive tariffs is continuing to grow, now including some from Walmart, the largest corporation in the world in terms of revenue. The retailer says it will be raising prices in the wake of new tariffs, although it didn’t offer a rollout of specifics yet. Ironically, the hit from President “Buy American!” comes as Walmart continues to grow exponentially — during the first quarter of this year, the chain recorded its fourth straight quarter of sales growth above 3 percent at stores open at least a year — but the bubble is threatened.
The company’s Chief Financial Officer Brett Biggs shared:
‘We’re going to continue to do everything we can to keep prices low. That’s who we are. However, increased tariffs will lead to increased prices, we believe, for our customers.’
Although a large chunk of its business comes from groceries that don’t come from China, Walmart still relies on exports from the country for about 26 percent of its merchandise. Other prominent retailers have larger chunks of their business running on the import market; Target, for example, imports some 34 percent of its offering from China. In line with the trend, Macy’s has also suggested price increases are on the horizon because of the trade war, and other big names in American industry like Del Monte have moved the same direction. That company’s CEO shared that the tariffs couldn’t be coming at a worse time, since there’s already an “inflationary environment” of rising prices out there.
The latest round of tariffs raise the import tax on some $250 billion worth of Chinese goods from 10 percent to 25 percent. The Trump administration has also explored the idea of instituting tariffs on essentially every Chinese import that hasn’t yet been targeted, which could cripple some American business operations. CNN reports that the Trump team “has started a formal process” to put those additional tariffs in place.
Trump has claimed that the tariffs’ negative effects are concentrated on the Chinese and there’s “no reason” for Americans to even pay the import taxes, but that’s ludicrous. They’re the ones bringing the products into the U.S. — and paying the price — and the increased costs are percolating down into higher prices for consumers, which have already hit the market well-ahead of these announcements from Walmart and Macy’s. The cost of washing machines alone, for instance, has gone up by about 12 percent. These numbers bury the president’s idea that the tariffs are a boon for the United States because of something like moderately increased government revenue.
Some of his “grand plans” for addressing the issues include billions of dollars in bailout money to support American farmers whose business has taken a hit thanks to issues like retaliatory tariffs from China.
His team has been pursuing a trade deal with China that protects American interests how they want; talks have been ongoing for months but the impasse broke into a renewal of the all-out antagonism just recently. China has new retaliatory tariffs on tens of billions of dollars of American products set to go into effect June 1.
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