• The US Senate yesterday (11 July) voted in favour, by 88-11, of a "motion to instruct" related to congressional approval of national-security designated tariffs.
  • It signals a push back against the President's trade policies and has been applauded by the US retail industry.
“There is clearly growing bipartisan concern over the administration’s reckless trade agenda," says the NRF

“There is clearly growing bipartisan concern over the administration’s reckless trade agenda," says the NRF

US retailers have applauded a mild rebuke by the Senate to President Donald Trump's tariff policy after a non-binding motion was passed giving Congress a role in his decisions to impose tariffs for national security reasons.

The US Senate yesterday (11 July) voted in favour, by 88-11, of a "motion to instruct" related to congressional approval of national-security designated tariffs. The majority of Republicans and every Senate Democrat supported the motion.

It is, however, non-binding, so it does not give Congress any real power to curb Trump's trade authority, but it signals a push back against the President's trade policies and reflects growing concern he is imposing national security tariffs against US trading partners that could ultimately hurt domestic companies.

The National Retail Federation's SVP for government relations, David French, hailed the move.

"There is clearly growing bipartisan concern over the administration's reckless trade agenda as the real-world consequences of tariffs spread in communities across the country. Congress has an important role to play in protecting hardworking Americans from a trade war, and this vote is an important first step. We appreciate the leadership of Senators Corker, Toomey and Flake and hope to see this common-sense legislation continue to move forward."

The vote came as China accused the US of bullying and "irrational behaviour", warning it would hit back after the administration raised the stakes in a trade dispute by threatening 10% tariffs on US$200bn of Chinese goods that include textiles, hats and handbags.

The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) applauded the Trump administration for its "continued effort to resolve long-standing trade inequities with China", and again called for the inclusion of finished textile and apparel products on any future lists of imports from China to be made subject to Section 301 tariffs.

"The Trump administration is right to confront China's unfair trade practices. Section 301 tariffs show the world that countries who cheat the United States on trade will be held accountable," said NCTO president & CEO Auggie Tantillo.

"NCTO is convinced that the Trump administration's Section 301 tariffs would be far more effective if Chinese apparel and sewn non-apparel end products were included in the 301 list because that would benefit the entire US textile and apparel supply chain."

He added: "If properly targeted, Section 301 tariffs would not only address the underlying illegal activity on the part of China, but also help reshore American jobs and boost US exports to the NAFTA and CAFTA regions. That's why NCTO will continue to engage the Trump administration on ways to maximize the benefit of Section 301 tariffs to American industry and workers."