NACDS Joins Americans for Free Trade

The coalition focuses on averting the harmful consequences of the emerging trade war, including new U.S.-imposed tariffs and retaliatory actions by trading partners.

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Retailers and Suppliers: Tell Us Your Story

To help inform NACDS’ policies and communications, NACDS members are sharing insights about the effects of current tariffs and retaliatory actions – and anticipated effects of future tariffs that are being targeted.

Inform NACDS of Tariff Consequences Now

Denver Retailer Expo Makes Case for Free Trade

Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE, President & CEO, National Association of Chain Drug Stores
Christopher Howes, President, Colorado Retail Council

This article was provided exclusively to the Denver Business Journal and published on August 23, 2018

With retailers and suppliers of health-and-wellness products set to gather at the Colorado Convention Center later this month, unintended consequences of an emerging trade war already are on their minds and on the minds of consumers.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Total Store Expo, which will call Denver home August 25-27, is designed to help pharmacies and their associated stores work with business partners to create the next big ideas and to better meet consumers’ needs. New tariffs imposed by the United States, and retaliation from trading partners, have emerged as potential barriers.

“This issue affects numerous and diverse products on store shelves, the process of getting these products to the shelves, and the very shelves themselves.”

Denver residents understand what is at stake. A survey of Denverites conducted by Morning Consult and commissioned by NACDS found significant concerns about a trade war. Among respondents, a plurality (65 percent) are concerned about the possibility of retaliatory tariffs imposed on the U.S. by other countries, while only 23 percent say they are not worried. Further, 76 percent say they fear increased prices as a result – and increases on healthcare products are of special concern.

Sixty-two percent are concerned about job losses across industries, and 49% of Denver citizens say the tariffs will hurt Colorado’s retail industry. Indeed, a trade war could threaten the economic growth experienced in recent months.

When asked about potential strategies for strengthening the U.S. economy, 62 percent of Denver residents preferred more free-trade agreements, and only 18 percent preferred tariffs and other barriers against competing products from other countries.

Denver citizens’ concerns are well placed. Retailers and product suppliers have identified potential trade-war ramifications that include rising costs for diverse products, packaging and equipment – including those involving electronics, steel, paper, and other materials and components. Companies also are noting increased freight costs.

In other words, this issue affects numerous and diverse products on store shelves, the process of getting these products to the shelves, and the very shelves themselves.

Even as the Denver conference and trade show will serve as a showcase of items that could be affected by the trade war, it also will feature an example of non-tariff strategies for promoting domestic goods. At the request of retailers, the event highlights companies and products that meet “Made in the USA” specifications. The program has been in place since the NACDS Total Store Expo’s inception six years ago, and this year, the program includes 100 returning participants and 16 first-timers. Proactive programs like this assist retailers and domestic manufacturers without risking far-reaching unintended consequences that tariffs and other trade barriers can impose.

Last year, retailers and suppliers worked collaboratively and successfully to describe the unintended consequences of a border adjustment tax – a proposal that posed substantial risks for consumers, workers and businesses and that ultimately was shelved. Now, it is time again to take on counterproductive protectionism in its latest form.

Hopefully, the locally-held NACDS Total Store Expo this year will inspire Denverites to help make the vital case for de-escalating the trade war and for reversing and averting its far-reaching consequences across industries.

Read in Denver Business Journal
See Morning Consult Infographic