AFT Sends Letter to United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai Encouraging the Removal of Tariffs

WASHINGTON, D.C., (March 18, 2021) — 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 congratulating her on her historic confirmation and encouraging her to lift the tariffs and provide Americans with economic relief.

“Lifting the additional tariffs is a simple, straightforward way to provide an economic boost to American families, American workers, and American businesses and to help ensure a successful economic recovery,” Americans for Free Trade wrote. “It is also an important step to repairing relationships with U.S. trading partners and allies and restoring our standing on the world stage.”

Over 160 trade associations signed on to the letter. The full text of the letter may be found here and below.

March 18, 2021

The Honorable Katherine Tai

United States Trade Representative

600 Seventeenth Street, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20508

Dear Ambassador Tai:

Congratulations on your confirmation as U.S. Trade Representative. We appreciate your dedication to public service and look forward to working with you on a worker-centric trade policy that benefits American workers, families, and businesses.

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, importers, exporters, and other supply chain stakeholders. Collectively, we employ tens of millions of Americans through our vast supply chains.

American families, workers, and businesses are experiencing a period of unprecedented difficulty and uncertainty. As businesses around the country try to implement and sustain a full and successful recovery from the ongoing economic harm caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, they need as much certainty as possible. That certainty can be provided in several ways, including by collaborating with our trading partners and allies to address violations of U.S. trade law, and by negotiating trade agreements that open markets for – rather than trigger retaliation against – American exporters and the tens of millions of workers who rely on export markets around the world.

One area that needs immediate attention relates to our tariff policy. Over the last several years, American businesses and families have been assessed more than $90 billion in additional tariffs. These tariffs have resulted in less money in the pockets of American families, a slowdown in U.S. manufacturing, and decreased competitiveness for American businesses vis-à-vis their counterparts in Europe and Asia. Tariffs are taxes. They have created tremendous uncertainty and financial pain for American families, American workers, and American businesses.

We appreciate USTR’s decision to extend for six months product exclusions on medical-care and other products needed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was an important first step to providing relief, but more can be done. As your office considers how best to deploy U.S. trade policy tools to address the ongoing public health and economic crises, we urge USTR to examine closely the negative impact that tariffs have caused to American families, American workers, and American businesses over the last several years and consider a thorough study of whether they have met their stated objectives. This should include an economic analysis regarding the impact of the tariffs in key areas, such as American jobs, manufacturing, competitiveness, innovation, and economic growth. In addition, we urge USTR to examine the effectiveness of the tariffs and the section 301 product exclusion process administered over the last several years.

As USTR conducts these important reviews, we also urge you to take the following immediate actions:

  • Reinstate the section 301 product exclusion process, including a retroactive extension for product exclusions that expired during 2020 to provide economic relief and predictability for American businesses, workers, and families;
  • Improve the section 301 product exclusion process to ensure it is administered in a fair, transparent, and predictable manner and then initiate a new product exclusion request opportunity;
  • For all goods that are needed to respond to COVID-19, provide exclusions for the period beginning on the effective date of the initial COVID-19 national emergency declaration and concluding one year after termination of the COVID-19 national emergency; and
  • Resolve ongoing trade disputes through targeted actions and concerted bilateral and multilateral engagement — measures that reduce trade barriers and open markets for American exporters rather than impose additional financial burdens on American families, businesses, and workers through tariffs and close markets when trading partners retaliate.

Lifting the additional tariffs is a simple, straightforward way to provide an economic boost to American families, American workers, and American businesses and to help ensure a successful economic recovery. It is also an important step to repairing relationships with U.S. trading partners and allies and restoring our standing on the world stage.

Again, we congratulate you on your historic confirmation. We would like to request a meeting with you to discuss how we can work with you on a trade policy agenda that tackles the unprecedented challenges facing American families, workers, and businesses.


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 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 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

California Retailers Association

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

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

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 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


Personal Care Products Council

Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council

Petroleum Equipment & Services Association

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)

San Diego Customs Brokers and Forwarders Assn.


Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA)

Snowsports Industries America

Society of Chemical Manufacturers & Affiliates

Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA)

South Dakota Retailers Association

Specialty Equipment Market Association

Specialty Vehicle Institute of America

Sports & Fitness Industry Association


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)