"The tariff idea is a war that you just can't win," Rick Helfenbein, the president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association, told CNBC Friday, criticizing plans announced Thursday by President Donald Trump to slap tariffs of up to $60 billion on Chinese imports.
The plans primarily target products in the technology sector, where Beijing holds an advantage over Washington. Helfenbein said those proposals made him "a little bit happy," but he added that increased trade tariffs could hit his industry hard.
Already, China has responded to some of the White House's moves, releasing on Friday a list of 128 U.S. products that could be targeted as a reciprocal measure to Trump's previously announced broad duties on foreign aluminum and steel imports.
Pork, wine, fruit and steel were named among the potential targets, though the list was not exhaustive. Helfenbein said he suspected textiles could be included in the tariff hikes.
"We don't like it, we're very concerned as an industry that apparel and footwear and accessories might be on the list, and if they are on the list it really would not be good for our industry," he noted.