President Donald Trump is trying to keep the pressure on China, pushing for trade concessions and amping up the trade war even as investors run for cover.
After an hour of trading Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1 percent, or 275.90 points, to 26,229.05. Among the retail and fashion decliners were G-III Apparel Group, off 5 percent to $41.26; Canada Goose Holdings Inc., 4.6 percent to $52.17; Alibaba Group Holding, 4 percent to $187.40; Tiffany & Co., 3.4 percent to $105.86; Nike Inc., 3.2 percent to $82.97; Under Armour Inc., 2.8 percent to $19.67, and Ralph Lauren Corp., 2.5 percent to $128.05.
On Sunday, Trump threatened to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports to 25 percent from 10 percent as soon as Friday.
He tweeted: “The tariffs paid to the U.S.A. have had little impact on product cost, mostly borne by China. The trade deal with China continues, but too slowly, as they attempt to renegotiate. No!”
And on Monday he doubled down. “The United States has been losing, for many years, 600 to 800 Billion Dollars a year on Trade. With China we lose 500 Billion Dollars. Sorry, we’re not going to be doing that anymore!”
Retailers, like investors, are bracing for a new trade storm as Trump pushes the negotiations with his signature brashness.
David French, senior vice president for government relations of the National Retail Federation, said, “Tariffs are taxes paid by American businesses and consumers, not by China. A sudden tariff increase with less than a week’s notice would severely disrupt U.S. businesses, especially small companies that have limited resources to mitigate the impact. If the administration follows through on this threat, American consumers will face higher prices and U.S. jobs will be lost.”