By Mark Johnson, Senior Vice President of Public Policy
Last week during the National Retail Federation’s Retail Advocates Summit, WRA descended on Capitol Hill to lobby our members of Congress against the United States imposing tariffs on our trading partners. We had the honor of meeting with Congressman Denny Heck (D-10), Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (D-1), Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and top staff for Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-7), and Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA).
I’m happy to report that everyone in the delegation we met with is united in opposing tariffs.
Washington State is one of the most trade-dependent states in the U.S. With the ports of Seattle and Tacoma importing billions of dollars worth of goods each year, we cannot afford to place an enormous tax on our trading partners that will only ultimately be paid by consumers.
Retailers in Washington and across the country rely on a steady, affordable and predictable supply of goods to stock their stores for their customers. When billions of dollars in trade tariffs are imposed it slows if not destroys that flow of goods to our members. There are better ways to take action and correct behavior of trading partners that are not playing by the rules; tariffs are not the solution. This also hurts our other industries that export, from agriculture to aerospace.
What is particularly alarming is that the full force of the tariffs will start to be felt as retailers gear up for the holiday season – their busiest time of year. We are concerned about the chilling effect these tariffs can have on our currently robust economy.