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
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.


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 


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


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.


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


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.”)