The U.S. has begun Sunday levying a 15% tariff on $300 billion worth of mostly consumer goods imported from China -- and experts worry the fees will hit shoppers in the pocketbook.
This latest round of duties target items including smartwatches, Bluetooth headphones, flat-panel televisions, apparel and footwear, and the additional cost will likely be reflected in the price charged by retailers.
Previous tariffs had focused more on intermediate goods like industrial parts and components.
"It's impossible for businesses to plan for the future in this type of environment," David French, a senior vice president of the National Retail Federation, said in a statement. "The administration's approach clearly isn't working, and the answer isn't more taxes on American businesses and consumers. Where does this end?"
The NRF is just one of the hundreds of business groups, retailers, and footwear companies which sent a letter to the president this week, asking him to to scrap the tariffs, saying they would jack up consumer prices and trigger job losses.
"U.S. consumers are driving the growth of the U.S. economy. Let's ensure consumer confidence remains high and economic prosperity continues for the American families we serve and the American workers we employ every day."
However all indications are that consumer confidence is anything but high. The University of Michigan's index of consumer sentiment dropped in July to a reading of 89.8, the lowest since October 2016, and down from 98.2 in June. Economists on average had projected a July reading of 92.4.
The university said in a statement that the "decline is due to negative references to tariffs, which were spontaneously mentioned by one-in-three consumers," adding that "Trump's tariff policies have been subject to repeated reversals amid threats of higher future tariffs."
This is only the beginning! https://t.co/mFrtBPtCcO— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 1, 2019
According to the American Apparel and Footwear Association, 91.6% of Chinese apparel imports will be hit by the new round of tariffs, as will 68.4% of home textiles and 52.5% of footwear. The remaining imports in these categories will be levied 15% on Dec. 15, when the second phase of the tariff goes into effect.
The administration -- which is still negotiating with China -- said it hopes that splitting up the tariffs this way will delay the impact of higher costs until after the holiday shopping season.
"We are talking to China, the meetings in September, that hasn't changed," Trump told reporters Sunday, according to CNBC.
China has also started rolling out its own smaller, new tariff hikes, hitting around $75-billion worth of exports for the U.S. -- including a 5% fee on U.S. crude oil.
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