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AFT Sends Letter to USTR Calling for Holistic, Transparent Tariff Review

WASHINGTON, D.C., (March 29, 2022) — Today, Americans for Free Trade (AFT), a broad coalition of American businesses, trade organizations, and workers united against tariffs sent a letter to United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai expressing strong support for a fully transparent review of the Section 301 tariffs on products from China which includes a comprehensive economic assessment of the tariffs’ impact on the American economy.

“In your upcoming testimony before Congress regarding the 2022 Trade Policy Agenda, we urge you to share USTR’s plans for reviewing the tariffs, including timing and opportunities for stakeholder input,” Americans for Free Trade wrote. “We believe the review presents an important opportunity to assess the Trump Administration’s tariffs and determine whether the Biden-Harris Administration will continue them as part of its China trade policy.”

In addition to calling for a fully transparent review which includes input from all stakeholders – including those who pay the tariffs – the letter calls on USTR to extend its review to all four tariff lists in order to provide a more holistic assessment of the tariffs’ impact on American businesses, workers, farmers, and consumers.

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


March 29, 2022

The Honorable Katherine Tai 
United States Trade Representative 
600 Seventeenth Street, N.W. 
Washington, D.C. 20508

RE:      Section 301 China Tariffs Review Process

Dear Ambassador Tai:

            We write today to express our strong support for a fully transparent review of the Section 301 tariffs on products from China, including a comprehensive economic assessment of the tariffs’ impact on American businesses, workers, farmers, and consumers. In your upcoming testimony before Congress regarding the 2022 Trade Policy Agenda, we urge you to share USTR’s plans for reviewing the tariffs, including timing and opportunities for stakeholder input. We believe the review presents an important opportunity to assess the Trump Administration’s tariffs and determine whether the Biden-Harris Administration will continue them as part of its China trade policy. 

            Our companies and associations joined together to form Americans for Free Trade in 2018. Our coalition represents every part of the U.S. economy including manufacturers, farmers and agribusinesses, retailers, technology companies, service suppliers, natural gas and oil companies, renewable energy companies, importers, exporters, and other supply chain stakeholders. Collectively, we employ tens of millions of Americans through our vast supply chains.

            American importers, including members of our coalition, have been assessed close to $130 billion in tariffs since President Trump first imposed tariffs on products from China nearly four years ago. As you know, List 1 of those tariffs is set to expire in July unless USTR receives a petition for a continuation of the tariffs, which we understand is almost certain to occur. Such a request would trigger a review process under the statute, requiring USTR to examine the effectiveness of the tariffs in achieving their objectives and other actions that could be taken, as well as the effects of such actions on the U.S. economy, including consumers. 

            While USTR would only be required to conduct this review with respect to List 1, we urge USTR to include all four tariff lists in its review. A single review for all four tariff lists would create administrative efficiencies for USTR and American companies. It would also permit a more holistic assessment of whether the tariffs achieved their stated objectives and provide a full picture of the impact the tariffs have had to the U.S. economy, as well as American businesses, workers, and consumers. It would also give USTR the opportunity to consider whether the 301 tariffs represent the best path forward considering U.S. companies continue to face many of the same challenges with respect to trade with China today as they did when the tariffs were first imposed.

            Further, it is essential that the review process be fully transparent and include a public comment period and public hearings to ensure that the Administration gives all stakeholders – including stakeholders who pay the tariffs –the opportunity to provide input. A review that does not include the American businesses, workers, farmers, and consumers burdened by the tariffs would be inconsistent with the commitments USTR has made in its Transparency Principles, congressional testimony, and the 2022 Trade Policy Agenda and 2021 Annual Report regarding public outreach, engagement, and transparency. 

            We look forward to hearing your testimony at the upcoming congressional hearings. We commit to working with you on a trade policy agenda that tackles the unprecedented economic challenges facing American families, workers, and businesses.

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

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 Food Institute

Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council

Plumbing Manufacturers International 

Power Tool Institute (PTI)

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

Society of Chemical Manufacturers & Affiliates

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 (SFIA)

TechNet

Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA)

Texas Retailers Association

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)

ICYMI: Four Years On, Tariffs Still an Economic Burden

The trade war with China hits its fourth anniversary this year, with the Biden administration set to soon begin a review of the Section 301 tariffs first imposed by former President Donald Trump in 2018. Since then, these tariffs have taxed American business owners nearly $130 billion for the goods they need to stay afloat.

A new study from the International Monetary Fund sheds light on the damaging effects of trade wars, noting that “bilateral tariff wars hurt the two parties involved the most,”as expenses grow in the countries that impose tariffs. 

As one business owner wrote in The Well News ahead of President Joe Biden’s first State of the Union address earlier this month, “Tariffs are taxes that the American government levies on American businesses for the cost of importing the things they need … That is money that businesses could reinvest to grow, hire new employees and light the spark to power a full economic recovery.”

The trade war has proven to be a failed experiment, not just because of the costs that businesses are forced to bear in the U.S., but also because China has come up well short of its obligations under the Phase One Trade Deal. Dan Digre of MISCO Speakers recently wrote on the second anniversary of the trade deal for Entrepreneur:

“When the previous administration first put the tariffs in place … it claimed that they would give the U.S. leverage in its negotiations with China, insisting that China would be ultimately responsible for paying the cost of the tariffs. However, that simply isn’t true, no matter how many times some have claimed it is. The tariffs haven’t been an effective way to hold China accountable; they’ve been an incredible burden on our economy.”

The need to lift the tariffs is also growing increasingly urgent as record inflation continues to batter American industry, which RedState contributor Christopher Arps recently discussed: 

“President Joe Biden and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai should … end a trade conflict that, while well-intentioned, has ultimately backfired on American businesses, workers, families, and consumers … This action would provide an immediate boost to struggling businesses — that the vast spending packages still being debated in Washington haven’t.”

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 on Upcoming Section 301 Tariff Review

WASHINGTON, D.C., (March 9, 2022) — Today, Americans for Free Trade (AFT) spokesperson Jonathan Gold released the following statement on the heels of reports that the Biden administration is set to begin a review of the first set of Section 301 tariffs on more than $300 billion on imports from China imposed by the Trump administration in 2018.

“American importers have paid close to $130 billion in tariffs since President Trump first initiated his trade war with China four years ago. As the Biden administration begins its review of these tariffs, it is absolutely essential that the review process is fully transparent, involves stakeholder input – including stakeholders who pay the tariffs, and includes a full economic assessment of the tariffs’ impact from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Moreover, this review should not just be limited to the first list of tariffs that were implemented, but should extend to all four lists. Tariffs are taxes on American families, consumers, and businesses. Tariffs add costs and create uncertainty for already strained supply chains, and are particularly harmful as record inflation increases the costs of the everyday goods Americans need most.”
 

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AFT Sends Letter to Congressional Leadership Urging Action on Transparent, Fair Tariffs Exclusions Process

WASHINGTON, D.C., (March 3, 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 Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy encouraging Congress to include language requiring the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to restart a comprehensive, transparent, and fair exclusions process for products subject to 301 tariffs.

“While we continue to call for an end to the additional tariffs on U.S. companies as well as China’s retaliatory tariffs, we believe reinstituting the section 301 exclusion process is critical to providing interim relief for U.S. businesses,” Americans for Free Trade wrote.“We welcomed USTR’s announcement in October to open an exclusions process for a limited set of products. However, that process is only available to approximately 1 percent of the original exclusion applications and USTR has yet to announce any new exclusions from the process. To provide meaningful relief, a more robust process is needed.”

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

March 3, 2022

The Honorable Chuck Schumer                    
Majority Leader
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Minority Leader
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi   
Speaker of the House 
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy
Minority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20510
 

RE:     Support for Section 301 Product Exclusions Process in China Competition Legislation
 

Dear Majority Leader Schumer, Minority Leader McConnell, Speaker Pelosi, and Minority Leader McCarthy:

The Americans for Free Trade (AFT) coalition supports congressional action on bipartisan legislation that will help American businesses and workers compete globally, including against China. Integral to improving U.S. competitiveness is addressing harmful tariffs that have increased costs for American businesses and families. For this reason, we strongly support language included as part of the Trade Act of 2021 in the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (S. 1260) that would require the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to reinvigorate the exclusion process for products subject to additional tariffs under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. Such a provision enjoyed overwhelming bipartisan support, with a 91-4 vote. We had hoped such language would be included in the America COMPETES Act (H.R. 4521), but regrettably, it was not. As these two China competition bills move towards a conference process, we urge Congress to include language requiring USTR to restart a comprehensive, transparent, and fair exclusions process – with retroactivity – for products subject to the 301 tariffs.

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 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. To date, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has assessed nearly $127 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 place a financial burden on U.S businesses – negatively impacting their ability to invest in their companies, hire more American workers, and remain competitive globally.

While we continue to call for an end to the additional tariffs on U.S. companies as well as China’s retaliatory tariffs, we believe reinstituting the section 301 exclusion process 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.” Further, recent articles have highlighted that the tariffs are having a modest but real impact on inflationary pressures.[1] A new, comprehensive, transparent, and fair exclusions process would help alleviate the economic burden on American businesses and consumers. 

We welcomed USTR’s announcement in October to open an exclusions process for a limited set of products. However, that process is only available to approximately 1 percent of the original exclusion applications and USTR has yet to announce any new exclusions from the process. To provide meaningful relief, a more robust process is needed. 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.  

Absent a clear indication from USTR that it will use its authority to provide a comprehensive, transparent, and fair exclusions process, Congress must act. We therefore urge Congress to include language in a conferenced China bill that would require USTR to reinstitute a comprehensive, transparent, and fair exclusions process – with retroactivity – for products subject to the section 301 tariffs.

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

Carolina Loggers Association

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 Business Alliance

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 Printing Ink Manufacturers

National Association of Trailer Manufacturers (NATM)

National Confectioners Association

National Council of Chain Restaurants

National Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Association of America

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

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 Industry Joint Advisory Council

Plumbing Manufacturers International 

Power Tool Institute (PTI)

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

Society of Chemical Manufacturers & Affiliates

Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA)

South Atlantic Bottled Water Association

South Dakota Retailers Association

Southeastern 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

The Vinyl Institute

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

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)

CC:      Members of the United States Senate

            Members of the United States House of Representatives

Articles Related to Tariffs’ Effect on Inflation:

Bloomberg, Feb. 8, 2022

The Washington Post | Feb. 8, 2022

Star Tribune | Feb. 6, 2022

Vogue Business | Jan. 5, 2022

The Wall Street Journal | Dec. 5, 2021

Harvard Kennedy School | Dec. 1, 2021

Progressive Policy Institute Newsletter

Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco | Feb. 25, 2019

Administration Comments on Tariffs & Inflation

CNBC | Nov. 30, 2021

CNN | Nov. 21, 2021

Nov. 14, 2021

Reuters | Nov. 1, 2021

Recent AFT Coalition Member Pieces:

2 Years Since Trade Deal with China, Tariffs Aren’t Working for American Businesses

Entrepreneur, MSN | Feb. 11 2022

Trade Wars Worsen Shipping Crisis

Townhall | Sept. 7, 2021

Joe Bell: Ongoing trade war limits recovery for U.S. businesses

Tribune Review | June 23, 2021

Repeal Tariffs to Boost the Economy, Help Small Businesses

RealClearMarkets | March 25, 2021

Removing tariffs is key to economic relief

Washington Examiner, Feb. 24, 2021
 


[1] See the attached list of articles discussing the section 301 China tariffs’ contributions to U.S. inflation woes.

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AFT Statement on President Biden’s 2022 Trade Agenda

WASHINGTON, D.C., (March 1, 2022) — Today, Americans for Free Trade (AFT) spokesperson Jonathan Gold released the following statement regarding President Joe Biden’s 2022 trade policy agenda.

“The lack of action taken to end the trade war continues to be disappointing. President Biden and Ambassador Tai should be laser-focused on providing American consumers and businesses relief by removing the harmful Section 301 tariffs. For over three years, Americans have suffered and paid over $126 billion in tariffs. We are calling on the Biden administration to take immediate action and prioritize Section 301 tariff policy this year.”

AFT Statement on Record Trade Deficit in 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C., (February 9, 2022) — Today, Americans for Free Trade spokesperson Jonathan Gold released the following statement in the wake of reports that the U.S. trade deficit hit record levels in 2021.

“This record trade deficit – in large part due to a high demand for foreign imports – reinforces the need for immediate relief from tariffs on goods imported from China. These tariffs failed to accomplish their stated goal of creating leverage in negotiations with China, which has fallen woefully short of its purchase agreements outlined in the Phase One Trade Deal. Beyond that, they artificially increase the cost of importing the goods that American businesses need in order to operate. We continue to call on the Biden administration to end the tariffs that remain in place and put an end to this misguided and failed trade policy.”

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BACKGROUND

US taste for imports drives 2021 trade gap to record $859B (Paul Wiseman, Associated Press, 2/8/22)

Economic Recovery Pushed 2021 U.S. Trade Deficit to Record Level (Yuka Hayashi and Anthony DeBarros, The Wall Street Journal, 2/8/22)

The U.S. trade deficit soared to a record last year. (Ana Swanson, The New York Times, 2/8/22)

U.S. trade deficit hit record in 2021 (Erin Doherty, Axios, 2/8/22)

China bought none of the extra $200 billion of US exports in Trump’s trade deal (Chad P. Bown, Peterson Institute for International Economics, 2/8/22)Exclusive: U.S. calls for ‘concrete action’ from China on trade deal (Andrea Shalal and David Lawder, Reuters, 2/7/22)

AFT Sends Letter to Speaker Pelosi, Minority Leader McCarthy in Support of Tariff Exclusions Amendments to America COMPETES Act

WASHINGTON, D.C., (February 1, 2022) — Today, Americans for Free Trade (AFT), a broad coalition of American businesses, trade organizations, and workers united against tariffs sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-23) expressing support for amending the America COMPETES Act of 2022 to include language requiring the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to reinvigorate the exclusion process for products subject to additional tariffs under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.

“While we continue calling for an end to the trade war and elimination of the additional tariffs on U.S. companies as well as China’s retaliatory tariffs, we believe reinstituting the section 301 exclusion process is critical to helping U.S. businesses,” Americans for Free Trade wrote. “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.’ A new, transparent, and fair exclusions process would help alleviate the economic burden on American businesses and consumers.”

Two currently proposed amendments to the bill would establish a process enabling a greater number of American businesses to apply for exclusions from the harmful tariffs that remain in place as part of the trade war with China.

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


February 1, 2022

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House   
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20510  

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy
 Minority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20510  

RE: Support for Section 301 Product Exclusions Process in the America COMPETES Act


Dear Speaker Pelosi and Leader McCarthy:

On behalf of the undersigned members of Americans for Free Trade, we write in strong support of amending the America COMPETES Act of 2022 to include language requiring the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to reinvigorate the exclusion process for products subject to additional tariffs under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. Such a provision was included as part of the Trade Act of 2021 in the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (S. 1260) after an overwhelmingly bipartisan 91-4 vote. We believe such a provision would enjoy broad bipartisan support in the House as well. Especially in light of a bipartisan letter signed by 141 members that was just sent to Ambassador Tai asking for such a process.

We strongly support Amendment 14 (Kind/DelBene/Scott/Houlihan) and Amendment 98 (Murphy/Walorski). We urge the amendments be ruled in order and encourage members to support them.

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 companies in the U.S. continue to recover from the global pandemic and operate in an inflationary economic environment, we continue to call upon the administration to resolve the ongoing trade war with China. To date, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has assessed over $123.5 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 place a financial burden on U.S businesses – negatively impacting their ability to invest in their companies, hire more American workers, and remain competitive globally.

While we continue calling for an end to the trade war and elimination of the additional tariffs on U.S. companies as well as China’s retaliatory tariffs, we believe reinstituting the section 301 exclusion process is critical to helping 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.” A new, transparent, and fair exclusions process would help alleviate the economic burden on American businesses and consumers.

We welcomed USTR’s announcement in October to open an exclusions process for a limited set of products. However, that process is only available to approximately 1 percent of the original exclusion applications and USTR has yet to announce any new exclusions from the process. To provide meaningful relief, a more robust process is needed. This view is shared by at least 141 bipartisan House members.

Absent a clear indication from USTR that it will use its authority to provide a fair, transparent, and comprehensive exclusions process, Congress must act. We therefore urge the House to include language (Amendments 14 and 98) in the America COMPETES Act that would require USTR to reinstitute a meaningful exclusions process.

Sincerely

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

American Wind Energy 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 Retailers Association

Can Manufacturers Institute

Carolina Loggers 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

Methanol Institute

Michigan Chemistry Council

Michigan Retailers 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 Customs Brokers and Freight

Forwarders Association of America

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

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 Food Institute

Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council

Plumbing Manufacturers International

Power Tool Institute (PTI)

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 Dakota Retailers Association

Specialty Equipment Market Association

Specialty Vehicle Institute of America

Sports & Fitness Industry Association

TechNet

Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA)

Texas Retailers Association

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 Submits Statement for the Record Following House Ways & Means Trade Subcommittee Hearing on China

WASHINGTON, D.C., (December 16, 2021) — Today, Americans for Free Trade, a broad coalition of American businesses, trade organizations, and workers united against tariffs, submitted a statement for the record following the recent House Ways & Means Subcommittee on Trade’s hearing regarding U.S. competitiveness with China.

“On behalf of the undersigned members of Americans for Free Trade, we thank the Subcommittee on Trade for holding an important hearing on U.S. competitiveness issues with China,” Americans for Free Trade wrote. “We believe it is critical that Congress not only examine how our trade tools can help improve U.S. economic competitiveness, but also act to relieve the burden the trade war has placed on American businesses, workers, manufacturers, farmers, and families.”

The full text of the letter may be found here and below.

December 16, 2021

The Honorable Earl Blumenauer
Chairman
House Ways & Means Subcommittee On Trade
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Vern Buchanan
Ranking Member
House Ways & Means Subcommittee On Trade
Washington, DC 20515

RE:     Trade Subcommittee Hearing on Supporting U.S. Workers, Businesses, and the Environment in the Face of Unfair Chinese Trade Practices
 

Dear Chairman Blumenauer and Ranking Member Buchanan:

On behalf of the undersigned members of Americans for Free Trade, we thank the Subcommittee on Trade for holding an important hearing on U.S. competitiveness issues with China. We believe it is critical that Congress not only examine how our trade tools can help improve U.S. economic competitiveness, but also act to relieve the burden the trade war has placed on American businesses, workers, manufacturers, farmers, and families.

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.

In advance of the Subcommittee’s hearing, our coalition sent a letter signed by more than 175 organizations urging Congress to pass legislation that would help make the U.S. more competitive, ease financial burdens on American businesses and consumers, and help address rising concerns over inflation. Specifically, we called upon Congress to pass legislation: (1) requiring the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to establish a Section 301 China tariffs exclusion process that is broadly available for all products subject to the tariffs, not just those products that received an exclusion expiring in December 2020; and (2) providing retroactivity for exclusions that expired, as well as retroactivity for all COVID-19-response product exclusions dating back to the start of the pandemic. We reiterate our strong support for such legislative action and urge Congress to move quickly.

Additionally, we urge Congress to request that the Administration conduct an economic analysis of all positive and negative effects on the United States economy of the Section 301 China tariffs. This should include the effects on United States workers, businesses, and consumers and an analysis of the benefits of such tariffs providing sufficient trade leverage on the PRC, in comparison to these tariffs’ harm to the United States economy.[1] This analysis should require the Administration to meaningfully engage with all stakeholders – especially those paying the tariffs, and the results should be made public.

Finally, we continue to call for negotiated solutions to end the trade war and elimination of the additional punitive tariffs on U.S. companies as well as China’s retaliatory tariffs. These tariffs have cost U.S. companies $113 billion and hit American businesses and consumers – not the Chinese – hardest. And as the Subcommittee heard clearly from the testimony given by Clete Willems – a former Trump Administration official intimately acquainted with the Section 301 China tariffs – these harmful tariffs were never meant to be permanent as a matter of policy or legally under the statute.[2] We agree with Mr. Willems that the Biden Administration must ask itself whether the tariffs have achieved their stated goal. We believe that in asking this question honestly, the Administration will discover that the answer is a resounding “no”. It is past time to rethink the U.S. approach to addressing China’s unfair trade practices and deploy tools that do not disproportionately harm American businesses, workers, and consumers.

We look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to address the ongoing negative impact that these tariffs continue to have on American businesses, American workers, and American consumers. Until the tariffs are fully removed, reinstituting a broadly-available, fair and transparent exclusion process will provide a targeted relief mechanism that will help U.S. businesses recover from the economic recession and continue 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 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 Associations 

American Wind Energy 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

Business Alliance for Customs Modernization

California Bottled Water Association

California Retailers Association

Carolina Loggers Association

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 Business Alliance

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

Methanol Institute

Michigan Chemistry Council

Michigan Retailers 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 Printing Ink 

Manufacturers

National Association of Trailer Manufacturers (NATM)

National Confectioners Association

National Council of Chain Restaurants

National Customs Brokers and Freight 

Forwarders Association of America

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 Uniform 

Manufacturers and Distributors (NAUMD)

North Carolina Retail Merchants 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 Industry Joint Advisory Council

Plumbing Manufacturers International 

Power Tool Institute (PTI)

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

Specialty Equipment Market Association

Specialty Vehicle Institute of America 

Sports & Fitness Industry Association

TechNet

Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA)

Texas Retailers Association

Texas Water Infrastructure Network 

The Airforwarders Association

The Fertilizer Institute

The Hardwood Federation

The Toy Association

The Vinyl Institute

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

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)

CC:      Members of the House Ways & Means Committee


[1] See, e.g., Section 202(3) of H.R. 6114, the “U.S. Trade Leadership in the Indo-Pacific and China Act”; Explanatory Statement for Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, 2022 at p. 176.

[2] Written Testimony of Clete R. Willems before the Ways & Means Trade Subcommittee, December 2, 2021 (“However, per the statute, Section 301 tariffs are not meant to be permanent and should be revisited over time to assess whether they are still helping the U.S. Government achieve its goals.”)

AFT Statement Following House Ways & Means Subcommittee Hearing on Competitiveness with China

WASHINGTON, D.C., (December 3, 2021) — Today, Americans for Free Trade spokesperson Jonathan Gold released the following statement following the House Ways & Means Subcommittee on Trade’s hearing regarding U.S. competitiveness with China.

“As leaders in both Congress and the Biden administration work to identify the proper ways to address China’s trade malpractices, it is imperative that they keep in mind the need to relieve the burden the trade war has placed on American businesses, workers, manufacturers, farmers, and families. It is critical that lawmakers also reinstitute a fair and transparent section 301 exclusion process to help businesses struggling with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the shipping crisis, and rising inflation. While removing the tariffs should be the primary goal, reinstituting this process will position the American economy to remain competitive globally as it recovers from these crises.”

###

AFT Sends Letter to House Ways & Means Leadership Ahead of Hearing on Competitiveness with China

WASHINGTON, D.C., (December 1, 2021) — Today, Americans for Free Trade (AFT), a broad coalition of American businesses, trade organizations, and workers united against tariffs sent a letter to House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA-1) and Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-TX-8), as well as House Ways & Means Subcommittee on Trade Chairman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-3) and Ranking Member Vern Buchanan (R-FL-16) ahead of the Subcommittee on Trade’s upcoming hearing regarding U.S. competitiveness with China. 

“As companies in the U.S. continue to recover from the global pandemic, and the massive supply chain disruptions we are now facing due to the shipping crisis we continue to call upon the Administration to refocus our trade debate with China so the pain is not disproportionately felt by U.S. companies,” Americans for Free Trade wrote. “To date, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has collected over $113 billion dollars in tariffs from American companies who import products from China. These taxes have increased the cost of doing business in the United States and have further exacerbated inflation concerns. They are a financial burden on American businesses – negatively impacting their ability to invest in their companies, hire more American workers, and remain competitive globally.”

More than 175 trade associations signed on to the letter. The full text of the letter may be found here and below.

December 1, 2021 

The Honorable Richard Neal
Chairman
House Ways & Means Committee
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Kevin Brady
Ranking Member
House Ways & Means Committee
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Earl Blumenauer
Chairman
House Ways & Means Subcommittee on Trade
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Vern Buchanan
Ranking Member
House Ways & Means Subcommittee on Trade
Washington, DC 20515
 

RE: House Action on Section 301 China Product Exclusions Process 
 

Dear Chairman Neal, Ranking Member Brady, Chairman Blumenauer and Ranking Member Buchanan:

On behalf of the undersigned members of Americans for Free Trade, we thank the Ways & Means Subcommittee on Trade for holding an important hearing on U.S. competitiveness issues with China. As part of that hearing, we are writing to follow up on a June 30 letter to House leadership expressing strong support for elements of the Trade Act of 2021 that were included in the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (S. 1260) as passed by the Senate. We believe it is critical that the House join the Senate in passing legislation that among other things, fully restarts and reinvigorates the Section 301 China tariffs exclusion process administered by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). It is imperative that this process be retroactive for previously expired exclusions as well as for all COVID-19-response product exclusions dating back to the start of the pandemic and establish a new transparent process for all products covered by the current 301 tariffs.

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 companies in the U.S. continue to recover from the global pandemic, and the massive supply chain disruptions we are now facing due to the shipping crisis we continue to call upon the Administration to refocus our trade debate with China so the pain is not disproportionately felt by U.S. companies. To date, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has collected over $113 billion dollars in tariffs from American companies who import products from China. These taxes have increased the cost of doing business in the United States and have further exacerbated inflation concerns. They are a financial burden on American businesses – negatively impacting their ability to invest in their companies, hire more American workers, and remain competitive globally.

While we continue to call for an end to the trade war and elimination of the additional penalty tariffs on U.S. companies as well as China’s retaliatory tariffs, we believe reinstituting a fair and transparent section 301 exclusion process is critical to helping U.S. businesses as they continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. 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.”

We appreciate that USTR is undertaking a limited exclusion renewal extension process. However, we strongly believe that the language as included in the Trade Act of 2021 would do far more to 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 at least December 31, 2022. It would also require USTR to implement a new product exclusion process and apply specific criteria in determining whether to grant an exclusion. These criteria will help to ensure that the exclusion process functions in a fair, consistent, and transparent manner and that American businesses do not suffer disproportionate economic harm as a result of the tariffs.

We look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to address the ongoing negative impact that these tariffs continue to have on American businesses, American workers, and American consumers. Until the tariffs are fully removed, providing a retroactive renewal to all previously expired exclusions and reinstituting a fair and transparent exclusion process will provide the targeted relief that will help U.S. businesses recover from the economic recession and continue 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 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 Wind Energy 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

Carolina Loggers Association

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 Business Alliance

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

Internet 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

Methanol Institute

Michigan Chemistry Council

Michigan Retailers 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 Printing Ink Manufacturers

National Association of Trailer Manufacturers (NATM)

National Confectioners Association

National Council of Chain Restaurants

National Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Association of America

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 Pork Producers Council

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 Uniform

Manufacturers and Distributors (NAUMD)

North Carolina Retail Merchants 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 Industry Joint Advisory Council

Plumbing Manufacturers International

Power Tool Institute (PTI)

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

Specialty Equipment Market Association

Specialty Vehicle Institute of America

Sports & Fitness Industry Association

TechNet

Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA)

Texas Retailers Association

Texas Water Infrastructure Network

The Airforwarders Association

The Fertilizer Institute

The Hardwood Federation

The Toy Association

The Vinyl Institute

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

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)CC:  Members of the House Ways & Means Committee