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New Data Shows Trade War With China Has Cost Americans $129 Billion

WASHINGTON, D.C., (June 29, 2022) — New data released by Americans for Free Trade, a broad coalition united in the fight against tariffs, reveals the steep price United States businesses, consumers, workers, and manufacturers have paid as part of the ongoing trade war with China. 

Americans have paid an estimated $129 billion in Section 301 tariffs between July 2018 and April 2022, and there is no sign that Section 301 tariffs are slowing. In fact, the last nine months (August 2021 – April 2022) have proven to be the most expensive yet.

“Between the COVID-19 pandemic and rising costs from inflation, the last thing that American businesses and consumers should have to worry about are tariffs. Enough is enough,” said Americans for Free Trade spokesperson Jonathan Gold. “It’s been over four years since the trade war began, and people across the country are only continuing to suffer. If the Biden administration is serious about promoting worker-centric policies, it will move swiftly to remove the harmful tariffs and help U.S. companies recover.”

The data also showed that:

  • The average monthly Section 301 tariffs paid under President Biden ($3.8 billion) are 67% higher than average monthly 301 tariffs paid under President Trump ($2.3 billion).
  • About 55% of Section 301 tariffs were paid under President Trump ($71 billion) versus 45% under President Biden ($57 billion).
  • Companies were able to avoid $21 billion in payments to the government up until the Section 301 tariffs exclusions were mostly ended on December 31, 2020.

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ICYMI – Business Leaders Discuss Tariffs’ Continued Damage

WASHINGTON, D.C., (June 22, 2022) — In case you missed it, Americans for Free Trade recently hosted a “Tariff Talk” roundtable with business leaders across various industries. Participants included:

  • Chris DiTullio, Executive Vice President, Chief Customer Officer, JOANN – Hudson, OH
  • Sherrill Mosee, Inventor and Designer of MinkeeBlue – Philadelphia, PA
  • Joe Shamie, Co-President of Delta Children’s Products – New York, NY
  • Rob Cohen, VP, Display Supply & Lighting, Inc. – Boston, MA
  • Joe Bell, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Aqua Filter Fresh, Inc. – Pittsburgh, PA
  • Deena Ghazarian, Founder/CEO, Austere – Wilsonville, OR
  • Anne Leventry, President, PanAmerican Seed Company – Chicago, IL


Kicking off the event, speakers took the time to note what tariffs really are: taxes on American businesses, consumers, and workers.

“The tariffs are really a tax on small businesses like ours.” – Rob Cohen

“This 25 percent tariff that you have put on, basically parents, is a tax on those individuals that have so many other expenses when a new child comes into their life. Why would you put 25 percent additional cost on [parents] developing safe places for their children to sleep, for their children to play, and for their children to enjoy?” – Joe Shamie

Throughout the event, participants also highlighted how the trade war with China has personally affected their companies:

“Small businesses like mine have taken a hit from tariffs, a global pandemic, rising logistics costs and increased employment costs. The Administration and Congress should take steps to provide tariff relief so small businesses can endure these challenges and thrive.” – Deena Ghazarian

“We would like to stay American-based, but these kinds of policies are very problematic for us.” – Anne Leventry

“I have raised my prices a little bit, but it really does not cover all of the additional costs with the tariffs.” – Sherrill Mosee

Inflation concerns were top-of-mind:

“Our customers, the American people, are in great need of inflation relief, and rescinding these tariffs can help achieve that goal.” – Chris DiTullio

“How many more blows can small businesses afford to take? A rescission of these tariffs can help us all feel relief from the inflationary market we are living in.” – Rob Cohen

“The tariffs are adding costs to an already inflationary market … As I stated we’re a small company and this has caused us to raise our cost to our customers.” – Joe Bell

Business leaders concluded that it’s time for the Biden administration to finally take action and address the trade war with China:

“I believe one of the most important actions the administration can take to help real Americans with inflation is to rescind the Trump-era Section 301 tariffs.” – Chris DiTullio

“I’m asking that the president really look into this, especially for a small business as myself to lower those taxes.” – Sherrill Mosee

If you are interested in speaking with someone about the trade war and its negative impact on Americans, please contact press@americansforfreetrade.com.
 

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AFT Statement on Biden Administration China Diplomatic Relations Strategy

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 27, 2022) — Americans for Free Trade (AFT) spokesperson Jonathan Gold released the below statement following yesterday’s speech by Secretary of State Antony Blinken regarding the Biden administration’s strategy for U.S. diplomatic relations with China.

“As Secretary Blinken noted in his speech, trade should support and create new opportunities for U.S. workers. However, that goal remains out of reach for many, as tariffs imposed by the previous administration remain in place on more than $350 billion worth of goods imported from China. These tariffs are taxes on American families, businesses, farmers, and manufacturers, and have been wholly ineffective in pushing China to end its abusive trade practices. For the Biden administration’s approach to relations with China to be successful, it must prioritize bringing this long-running trade war to an end.”

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ICYMI: AFT Event Highlights Tariffs’ Ongoing Impact

WASHINGTON, D.C., (May 25, 2022) — Earlier this week, Americans for Free Trade held a “Tariff Talk” with speakers from four top think tanks to get their perspective on the trade war’s continued impact on the American economy as the Office of the United States Trade Representative conducts its four-year review of the tariffs.

You can find a video of the full AFT Tariff Talk, which was hosted by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) at the CTA Innovation House, on our Twitter page here.

Featured speakers at the event, which was moderated by Politico’s Doug Palmer, included:

  • Ed Gresser, Vice President and Director for Trade and Global Markets at the Progressive Policy Institute
  • Christine McDaniel, Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University
  • Zach Moller, Director of the Economic Program for Third Way
  • Tori Smith, Director of International Economic Policy for the American Action Forum

Throughout the event, speakers reiterated a truth that businesses throughout the nation are all too familiar with: tariffs are taxes on American families, workers, and businesses:

“The wide consensus of economists is that consumers eventually pay the tariff.” – Ed Gresser, Progressive Policy Institute

“We know that tariffs are taxes on you and me.” – Tori Smith, American Action Forum

But, as Third Way’s Zach Moller pointed out, “We cannot talk about tariffs today without talking about their impact on inflation.”

Inflation is top-of-mind for American voters and policymakers alike, with rising prices sure to have a dramatic impact on this year’s midterm elections. The urgency of the issue and the way tariffs contribute to increased costs were a primary focus for many of the event’s speakers:

“We need to be fighting inflation literally every way we can. Lowering tariffs is a way Democrats and the Biden administration could act on inflation, and I’m frankly surprised we haven’t seen more action on it.” – Zach Moller, Third Way

“[Lifting the tariffs] is not going to be a panacea [for inflation], but it’s certainly going to help. And you’re going to get a lot better bang for the buck when you do all the other good things you should be doing.” – Christine McDaniel, Mercatus Center

Speakers each had different ideas for what exactly the future could hold for American trade policy, but the common conclusion was that regardless of what shape that policy takes, it is time for the tariffs to go:

“I think it’s obvious to say that it’s time for these tariffs to go.” – Tori Smith, American Action Forum

“There’s very little awareness of tariffs as part of the tax system and what we’re taxing and why is it that we’ve allowed such a weirdly regressive tariff system … it’s something that’s very ripe for reform.” – Ed Gresser, Progressive Policy Institute

As the Mercatus Center’s Christine McDaniel pointed out, “In all this, we have lost sight of the American business … The vast majority don’t want these tariffs.” 

If you are interested in speaking with someone about the trade war and its negative impact on Americans, please contact press@americansforfreetrade.com.

ICYMI: Economists Agree – It’s Time to Lift Tariffs

WASHINGTON, D.C., (May 18, 2022) — As we approach the 2022 midterms, the Biden administration faces a range of economic obstacles that will be at the top of voters’ minds, and nothing has Americans more worried than the ongoing inflation contributing to increased prices for the everyday goods they need most. While President Biden seeks to address this inflation, calls are increasing for his administration to use every tool at its disposal, including finally ending former President Trump’s trade war with China. 

Tariffs are taxes on American families, businesses, farmers, and manufacturers. They make the items they need more expensive, and have contributed to the economic uncertainty facing the nation. And now, economists across the political spectrum are speaking out. 

Speaking with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Jason Furman, who served as Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisors under former President Obama, called the tariffs on imports from China “the biggest stone that’s unturned” in the fight against inflation, adding:

“I’d love to see them lift most of the tariffs that President Trump imposed. That would bring down inflation directly, would increase competition and the economy, and indirectly bring down prices even more … This would be the biggest step he could take, that he’s not taken so far.”

These comments follow the March release of a study from the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE), which found that removing all of the tariffs levied by former President Trump would lead to a 1.3 percentage point decline in the consumer price index inflation. Additionally, PIIE Economist Chad Bown wrote in March:

“The trade war was also costly to the US economy through the impact of the US tariffs. Numerous economic studies have documented that the effect of the tariffs was to raise prices and hurt American consumers and companies … harming American competitiveness by reducing employment and sales.”

Americans are eager to see what comes of the Biden administration’s four-year review of some of former President Trump’s tariffs, as administration officials have pointed totariff relief as a possible way to combat inflation. 

Now, many are hoping that it finally provides economic relief that is long overdue, because as the National Taxpayers Union highlighted earlier this year:

“[T]here’s no denying that Trump’s Section 301 tariffs have cost Americans billions of dollars while failing to achieve their primary policy aims. The Biden administration should allow the tariffs to end as scheduled and pursue alternatives that are more likely to benefit the United States.”

If you are interested in speaking with someone about the trade war and its negative impact on Americans, please contact press@americansforfreetrade.com.

AFT Statement Following Vote on Motion to Instruct Regarding Tariffs Exclusions Process

WASHINGTON, D.C., (May 5, 2022) — Americans for Free Trade (AFT) spokesperson Jonathan Gold released the below statement following yesterday’s vote on the Motion to Instruct proposed by Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) to include Section 73001 as included in the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act in a final conferenced Bipartisan Innovation Act.

“By voting in support of this Motion to Instruct, the Senate has once again recognized the importance of reinvigorating the exclusion process for products subject to Section 301 tariffs and demonstrated its commitment to finding a solution for the American businesses, manufacturers, farmers, and families who continue to struggle with the additional economic burden these tariffs create. They make the U.S. less competitive globally and cause disproportionate economic harm to an American economy grappling with ongoing inflation concerns. While the best solution would be to lift the tariffs and take a more strategic approach to address China’s unfair trade practices, we believe reinstituting this exclusion process is a critical interim step to providing relief to U.S. businesses and making them more competitive with their Chinese counterparts.”

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AFT Submits Letter in Support of Motion to Instruct, Calls to Include on Section 301 Product Exclusions Process

WASHINGTON, D.C., (May 2, 2022) — Today, Americans for Free Trade (AFT), a broad coalition of American businesses, trade organizations, and workers united against tariffs, sent a letter to Senate leadership voicing support for the Motion to Instruct proposed by Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) to include Section 73001 as included in the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act in a final conferenced Bipartisan Innovation Act. This provision would reinvigorate the exclusion process for products subject to additional tariffs under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. 

“We continue to call for an end to the China Section 301 tariffs – including China’s retaliatory tariffs — that have had a disproportionate economic impact on American companies, consumers, and workers and that have failed to change China’s unfair trade practices,” Americans for Free Trade wrote. “But until the tariffs are lifted, we believe reinstituting the Section 301 exclusion process for all covered products is critical to providing interim relief for U.S. businesses.”

177 trade associations signed on to the letter. The full text of the letter may be found here and below.

May 2, 2022

The Honorable Charles Schumer 
Majority Leader
United States Senate 
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Mitch McConnell 
Republican Leader
United States Senate 
Washington, DC 20510

RE: Support Senator Toomey Motion to Instruct to Include on Section 301 Product Exclusions Process (Section 73001)

Dear Majority Leader Schumer and Republican Leader McConnell,

On behalf of the undersigned members of Americans for Free Trade, we are writing to express strong support for the Motion to Instruct proposed by Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) to include Section 73001 as included in the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) (S. 1260). This was included as part of the Trade Act of 2021 which received a 91-4 vote as an amendment to USICA. The provision will reinvigorate the exclusion process administered by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) for products subject to additional tariffs under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.

By way of background, Americans for Free Trade represents every part of the U.S. economy including manufacturers, farmers and agribusinesses, retailers, technology companies, service suppliers, natural gas and oil companies, importers, exporters, and other supply chain stakeholders. Collectively, we employ tens of millions of Americans through our vast supply chains.

As U.S. companies continue to recover from the global pandemic, they are now facing ongoing supply chain disruptions and rising inflation. We continue to call upon the administration to resolve the ongoing trade war with China to help ease these challenges. To date, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has collected over $134 billion dollars in tariffs from U.S. companies who import products from China. These taxes increase the cost of doing business in the United States and risk exacerbating increasing inflation. They are a financial burden on U.S businesses – negatively impacting their ability to invest in their companies, hire more American workers, and remain competitive globally.

We continue to call for an end to the China Section 301 tariffs – including China’s retaliatory tariffs – that have had a disproportionate economic impact on American companies, consumers, and workers and that have failed to change China’s unfair trade practices. But until the tariffs are lifted, we believe reinstituting the Section 301 exclusion process for all covered products is critical to providing interim relief for U.S. businesses. According to a recent Moody’s Investor Service Report, the tariffs “hit American businesses and consumers hardest,” with China absorbing only 7.6 percent of the tariffs “while the rest of the tab was picked up by Americans.”

Section 73001 of USICA would alleviate the economic burden on American businesses and consumers by immediately reinstating product exclusions that expired throughout 2020 – in the middle of the pandemic and economic recession – through December 31, 2022. It would also require USTR to implement a new product exclusion process and outlines specific criteria for USTR to consider in determining whether to grant an exclusion. Under these criteria, the exclusion process will function in a fair, consistent, and transparent manner and ensure that American businesses do not suffer disproportionate economic harm as a result of the tariffs.

USTR has thus far failed to act independently – as Section 301 authorizes it to do. USTR recently provided an exclusion process, but this process was limited to a small amount of expired exclusions and did not provide full retroactivity for the exclusions that were reinstated. While these reinstated exclusions are an important first step, a more robust process is needed to provide meaningful relief. This view is shared by at least 141 bipartisan House members and 41 bipartisan Senators who recently wrote to Ambassador Tai urging USTR to open a broader exclusions process. Yet, USTR refuses to act. We therefore urge the Senate to support the Motion to Instruct to include Section 73001 in a final conferenced Bipartisan Innovation Act.

We look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to address the ongoing negative impact of the tariffs on American businesses, American workers, and American consumers by fully lifting the Section 301 tariffs. Reinstituting a fair, transparent, and retroactive exclusion process will provide targeted tariff relief for, U.S. businesses, helping them overcome current economic and supply chain disruptions and enabling them to invest in their businesses and workers here at home.

Thank you for your consideration. 

Sincerely,

Accessories Council
ACT | The App Association
Agriculture Transportation Coalition (AgTC)
ALMA, International (Association of Loudspeaker Manufacturing and Acoustics)
American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA)
American Association of Exporters and Importers (AAEI)
American Association of Port Authorities
American Bakers Association
American Bridal & Prom Industry Association (ABPIA)
American Chemistry Council
American Clean Power Association
American Coatings Association, Inc. (ACA)
American Down and Feather Council
American Fly Fishing Trade Association
American Home Furnishings Alliance
American Lighting Association
American Petroleum Institute
American Pyrotechnics Association
American Rental Association
American Seed Trade Association
American Specialty Toy Retailing Association
American Trucking Association
Arizona Technology Council
Arkansas Grocers and Retail Merchants Association
Association For Creative Industries
Association for PRINT Technologies
Association of American Publishers
Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM)
Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers
Auto Care Association
Beer Institute
BSA | The Software Alliance
Business Alliance for Customs Modernization
California Bottled Water Association
California Retailers Association
Can Manufacturers Institute
Central States Bottled Water Association
Chemical Industry Council of Delaware (CICD)
Coalition of New England Companies for Trade (CONECT)
Coalition of Services Industries (CSI)
Colorado Retail Council
Columbia River Customs Brokers and Forwarders Assn.
Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA)
Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA)
Consumer Brands Association
Consumer Technology Association
Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA)
CropLife America
Customs Brokers & Freight Forwarders Assn. of Washington State
Customs Brokers & Freight Forwarders of Northern California
Distilled Spirits Council of the United States
Electronic Transactions Association
Energy Workforce & Technology Council
Experiential Designers and Producers Association
Fashion Accessories Shippers Association (FASA)
Fashion Jewelry & Accessories Trade Association
Flexible Packaging Association
Florida Ports Council
Florida Retail Federation
Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA)
Fragrance Creators Association
Game Manufacturers Association
Gemini Shippers Association
Georgia Retailers
Global Chamber®
Global Cold Chain Alliance
Greeting Card Association
Halloween Industry Association
Home Fashion Products Association
Home Furnishings Association
Household and Commercial Products Association
Idaho Retailers Association
Illinois Retail Merchants Association
Independent Office Products & Furniture Dealers Association (IOPFDA)
Indiana Retail Council
Information Technology Industry Council (ITI)
International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA)
International Bottled Water Association (IBWA)
International Foodservice Distributors Association
International Housewares Association
International Warehouse and Logistics Association
International Wood Products Association
ISSA – The Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association
Jeweler’s Vigilance Committee
Juice Products Association (JPA)
Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association
Leather and Hide Council of America
Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association
Los Angeles Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Assn.
Louisiana Retailers Association
Maine Grocers & Food Producers Association
Maine Lobster Dealers’ Association
Maritime Exchange for the Delaware River and Bay
Maryland Retailers Association
Michigan Chemistry Council
Michigan Retailers Association
Mid-America Bottled Water Association
Minnesota Retailers Association
Missouri Retailers Association
Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association
Motorcycle Industry Council
NAPIM (National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers)
National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS)
National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD)
National Association of Foreign-Trade Zones (NAFTZ)
National Association of Home Builders
National Association of Music Merchants
National Association of Trailer Manufacturers (NATM)
National Confectioners Association
National Council of Chain Restaurants
National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA)
National Fisheries Institute
National Foreign Trade Council
National Grocers Association
National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association
National Marine Manufacturers Association
National Restaurant Association
National Retail Federation
National Ski & Snowboard Retailers Association
National Sporting Goods Association
Natural Products Association
New Jersey Retail Merchants Association
North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM)
North American Association of Uniform Manufacturers and Distributors (NAUMD)
North Carolina Retail Merchants Association
Northeast Bottled Water Association
Northwest Bottled Water Association
Ohio Council of Retail Merchants
Outdoor Industry Association
Pacific Coast Council of Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Assns. Inc.
Pennsylvania Retailers’ Association
PeopleforBikes
Personal Care Products Council
Pet Advocacy Network
Pet Food Institute
Plumbing Manufacturers International
Power Tool Institute (PTI)
PRINTING United Alliance
Promotional Products Association
International Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association
Retail Association of Maine
Retail Council of New York State
Retail Industry Leaders Association
Retailers Association of Massachusetts
RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment)
RV Industry Association
San Diego Customs Brokers and Forwarders Assn.
SEMI
Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA)
Snowsports Industries America
Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA)
South Atlantic Bottled Water Association
South Dakota Retailers Association
Southeast Bottled Water Association
Specialty Equipment Market Association
Specialty Vehicle Institute of America
Sports & Fitness Industry Association
TechNet
Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA)
Texas Water Infrastructure Network
The Airforwarders Association
The Fertilizer Institute
The Hardwood Federation
The Toy Association
Travel Goods Association
Truck & Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA)
United States Council for International Business
United States Fashion Industry Association
US Global Value Chain Coalition
US-China Business Council
Vinyl Institute
Virginia Retail Merchants Association
Virginia-DC District Export Council (VA-DC DEC)
Washington Retail Association
Window and Door Manufacturers Association
World Pet Association, Inc. (WPA)

AFT Statement on Congressional Negotiations Over Tariff Exclusions Process

WASHINGTON, D.C., (April 25, 2022) — Today, Americans for Free Trade (AFT) spokesperson Jonathan Gold released the following statement regarding Section 301 tariff exclusion provisions under consideration by the congressional conference committee reconciling legislation passed in the Senate and the House of Representatives to increase competition with China.

“It is imperative that the language calling for a new, transparent Section 301 tariff exclusions process included in the Senate version of the legislation is part of the final bill. The tariffs currently in place have proven to be an ineffective negotiation tactic, with China having fallen well short of its purchase commitments detailed in the Phase One Trade Deal. Instead, these tariffs continue to place an overwhelming burden on U.S. businesses, farmers, manufacturers, and consumers, as illustrated by a Moody’s Investor Service Report showing China paid just 7.6 percent of the cost of the tariffs while the rest fell to Americans. Tariffs make U.S. businesses less competitive globally, and providing businesses with a process to receive exemptions from these costly tariffs could provide much-needed relief.”

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AFT Submits Statement for the Record on Biden Administration’s 2022 Trade Policy Agenda

WASHINGTON, D.C., (April 13, 2022) — Today, Americans for Free Trade (AFT), a broad coalition of American businesses, trade organizations, and workers united against tariffs submitted a statement for the record to leadership of the Senate Finance and House Ways & Means Committees following the committees’ hearings regarding the Biden administration’s 2022 Trade Policy Agenda. 

“As companies in the U.S. continue to recover from the global pandemic, face supply chain disruptions, and operate in an inflationary economic environment, we continue to call upon the administration to use more strategic tools to address China’s unfair trade practices without further damaging U.S. competitiveness,” Americans for Free Trade wrote. “We continue to call for an end to the China 301 tariffs that have had a disproportionate economic impact on American companies, consumers, and workers and that have failed to change China’s unfair trade practices.”

In addition to calling for an end to existing Section 301 tariffs, AFT urged the committees to include language in a conferenced China competition bill that would require the Office of the United States Trade Representative to reinstitute a comprehensive, transparent, and fair exclusions process – with retroactivity – for products subject to the Section 301 tariffs. Beyond that, AFT urged the committees to inquire about USTR’s plans for reviewing the tariffs, including timing and opportunities for stakeholder input.

The full text of the letter may be found here.