NRF, NFI renew push urging Biden to drop tariffs on Chinese goods

The port of Los Angeles in the United States.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) and the National Fisheries Institute (NFI) are making renewed efforts to fight the impact of Section 301 tariffs on seafood and other goods from China.

The NRF is urging the Biden administration to repeal the tariffs, noting that they have cost U.S. importers USD 136.5 billion (EUR 128 billion) since 2018.

The tariffs are also putting more pressure on consumers that are already facing record high inflation and product costs, NRF said in a press release. According to the NRF the tariffs cost the average American household more than USD 1,200 (EUR 1,127) per year.

“We encourage the administration to work with our trading partners, particularly China, to roll back tariffs that contribute to the high cost of goods and services and provide much-needed relief for American consumers,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Tariffs are among the many costs out of retailers’ control that drive up prices paid by consumers. But unlike other costs, the administration can eliminate tariffs with the stroke of a pen.”

The National Fisheries Institute has been tackling the issue for years, and is calling attention to the negative impact the tariffs have on exports.

“There’s no doubt that tariffs and the ongoing supply chain snarls at the ports are contributing to the inflation hitting food, including seafood. Tariffs on seafood products have also harmed American seafood exports, declining to a level not seen since 2011,” NFI Communications Director Melaina Lewis told SeafoodSource. “Eliminating tariffs on fisheries products will not only benefit American workers throughout the seafood value chain, but bring affordable and nutritious seafood to America’s middle and working class families.”

Free and fair trade – both import and export – is a priority issue for NFI and its members, the organization said.

“We have been active on Capitol Hill and with the administration, helping to illustrate the very real, and negative, impact these tariffs are having on Americans in the seafood community,” Lewis said.

In addition, NFI is an active participant in the trade coalition Americans For Free Trade.

NRF, meanwhile, is launching the second phase of a seven-figure advocacy campaign with broadcast, digital, and out-of-home advertising, urging the Biden administration to repeal the tariffs. The ad campaign includes a 30-second television spot called “Lower Inflation Now by Repealing Tariffs.”

“No one is closer to the consumer than the retail industry, and retailers are doing everything they can to keep prices down despite the economic pressures of high inflation,” Shay said. “We began a grassroots effort months ago and are now expanding our efforts with an ad campaign because the urgency for action grows each day.”

Many of the tariffs have been in effect since 2018 and “have not achieved their desired goal of pressuring China to change its trade policies,” NRF Vice President of Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold wrote in a blog post.

“From the beginning, NRF and many others pointed out the negative effect the tariffs would have on retailers, workers, consumers and the economy as a whole,” Gold wrote. “Tariffs are a tax that is paid by the importer. Despite what some claim, these tariffs have not been paid by China.

In fact, the tariffs “continue to be almost entirely borne by U.S. firms and consumers,” the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found.  

Photo courtesy of Sheila Fitzgerald/Shutterstock


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