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National Retail Federation CEO says Trump's tariffs 'aren't going to work'

Category: Finance,Retail

The Trump administration's tariffs against China are hurting American consumers instead of resolving trade issues with country, National Retail Federation president and CEO Matthew Shay told CNBC on Wednesday.

"This is like a trillion dollars worth of economic activity potentially subject to tariffs," Shay said on "Squawk Box." "Tariffs don't work, they never worked, and they're not going to work this time either."

Shay was responding to the latest round of tariffs released Tuesday the Trump administration. The 10 percent tariffs, which could take effect in September, targets furniture, handbags, appliances, electronics and beauty products, among other goods.

U.S. retailers have already been hit hard by the administration's import taxes and retaliatory tariffs from Canada, Mexico, China and the European Union. As the catalog of goods facing tariffs expands with each round, retailers have to adapt — sometimes by increasing prices for consumers — without an end to the conflict in sight, Shay said.

Shay compared these troubles to the tax reform policy that President Donald Trump signed into law a few months ago.

"Tax reform made us more competitive," he said. "It encouraged consumption and investment. It was good for American families. Tariffs are exactly the opposite."

Shay said that he hopes the administration will sit down with Chinese leaders to discuss the tariffs and China's intellectual property violations.

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