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ICYMI – Americans for Free Trade Tariff Talk: Ongoing Impact of China 301 Tariffs

In case you missed it, Americans for Free Trade recently hosted a “Tariff Talk” roundtable on the ongoing impact of China Section 301 tariffs, with business leaders across various industries. Participants included:

  • Ed Weinstein, Vice President, Tax and Government Affairs, JOANN Inc.
  • Harlan Stone, Chief Executive Officer, HMTX Industries
  • Erik Steffenburg, Senior Manager – Global Compliance, Brunswick Corporation 
  • Ed Gresser, Vice President and Director for Trade and Global Markets, Progressive Policy Institute
  • Brian Kuehl, Executive Director, Farmers for Free Trade

Kicking off the event, speakers explained the impact of the China Section 301 tariffs on their business and community:

“The section 301 tariffs imposed on products that we import from China negatively impact our company, our team members, our customers, and the U.S. economy as a whole.” – Ed Weinstein

“We are the only U.S. outboard engine manufacturer, and our competitors…are the ones benefiting. It makes no sense to us at all that an American company is paying a hefty tariff, while the very companies we are looking to get an advantage over are benefitting.” – Erik Steffenburg

“Farm families all over the United States are being squeezed by tariffs on China.” – Brian Kuehl

“These tariffs are inflationary and unfair to the American worker.” – Harlan Stone

“On the whole, it’s clear that the additional tariffs of 2018-2019 are falling most heavily on manufacturers.” – Ed Gresser

U.S. companies have tried to source products from outside of China, but that isn’t always feasible:

“All the equipment I need is only available in China. I’m importing technology from China and paying a 25% tariff on the material. Had I not paid that tariff, I probably could have started two factories by now.” – Harlan Stone

“Moving a production facility from China is not only extremely expensive, but it would really detract from our capacity to further manufacture products back here in the U.S.” – Eric Steffenburg

“We’d love to source here in the U.S., but we cannot find sources outside of China that can meet our requirements. It would take 18-24 months for other factories to be built.” – Ed Weinstein

Concern is growing over how the Biden Administration will be handling its tariff exclusions process:

“We continue to be confused about why some of our exclusion requests have been granted but others denied. We really hope that the administration is much more clear and transparent in how they decide what exclusions are granted.” – Eric Steffenburg

“If the exclusions are not extended, the cost of making articles of clothing will become more expensive, and thereby encourage consumers to purchase clothing that is foreign made, and not subject to tariffs.” – Ed Weinstein

If you are interested in speaking with someone about the Section 301 tariffs on China and their negative impact on Americans, please contact press@americansforfreetrade.com.

AFT Statement on Continuation of Section 301 Tariff Exclusions

WASHINGTON, D.C., (December 16, 2022) — Americans for Free Trade (AFT) spokesperson Jonathan Gold released the following statement following the Office of the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) announcement of a nine‑month extension for 352 Section 301 tariff exclusions that had been scheduled to expire at the end of the year:

“Today’s announcement is welcome news for the countless U.S. businesses, manufacturers, and farmers who had been unsure of whether these much-needed tariff exclusions would continue. On October 4 in a letter for Ambassador Tai, AFT called for an early decision on the extension of these exclusions, and we are pleased to see that USTR responded to our request. We thank USTR for extending these exclusions, and continue to encourage the implementation of a new, more transparent process for all importers affected by the Section 301 tariffs to apply for future exclusions.”
 

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AFT Statement on USITC Report Examining Distributional Effects of Trade Policy on U.S. Workers

WASHINGTON, D.C., (November 16, 2022) — Americans for Free Trade (AFT) spokesperson Jonathan Gold released the following statement in response to the U.S. International Trade Commission’s (USITC) report examining the distributional effects of trade and trade policy on U.S. workers:

“As numerous experts and industry leaders point out in the USITC’s report, workers and consumers across the U.S. are suffering from the cost of tariffs. Since the start of the trade war, Americans have paid more than $160 billion in tariffs, limiting our economy’s ability to grow and disproportionately harming vulnerable Americans. As United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai reviews the findings of this report, it is essential that she recognizes this harm and prioritizes bringing an end to the counterproductive trade war with China.”

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AFT Statement on Biden-Xi Meeting at G-20 Summit

WASHINGTON, D.C., (November 14, 2022) — Americans for Free Trade (AFT) spokesperson Jonathan Gold released the following statement on the heels of today’s meeting between President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G-20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia:

“It is encouraging to see President Biden and President Xi coming together to discuss one of the most important bilateral relationships to the health of the global economy. As they continue this dialogue and work to de-escalate tensions that have defined the U.S.-China relationship in recent years, they must address the ongoing trade war between the two nations. The tariffs – which have been in place for more than four years – have cost U.S. families and businesses more than $160 billion. As International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva acknowledged recently, these tariffs are counterproductive and allowing the trade war to continue at a time when inflation is top-of-mind for people around the world would represent a profound economic risk.”
 

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AFT Statement Following Publication of Section 301 Continuance Requests

WASHINGTON, D.C., (October 10, 2022)  Americans for Free Trade (AFT) spokesperson Jonathan Gold released the below statement following the Office of the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) publication of comments requesting an extension of Section 301 tariffs on imports from China.

“We applaud USTR’s move to finally publish these comments. As we have stated in the past, it is essential for the review process to be fully transparent for all stakeholders affected by the tariffs, and this is a positive step in the right direction. We look forward to reviewing the comments that have been filed and to engaging with USTR as it begins the second phase of its review process, which we hope will begin in earnest soon.”

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AFT Submits Letter to U.S. Trade Representative Regarding China Tariff Exclusions

WASHINGTON, D.C., (October 4, 2022) — Today, Americans for Free Trade (AFT), a broad coalition of American businesses, trade organizations, and workers united against tariffs, sent a letter to the office of United States Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai regarding Section 301 tariff exclusions which are set to expire in the coming months, calling for USTR to both renew existing exclusions and create a more robust exclusions process moving forward.

“As American businesses continue to face high inflation, ongoing supply chain challenges, and new COVID variants, we urge USTR to provide additional relief by promptly renewing all the exclusions which are set to expire this year,” Americans for Free Trade wrote. “This move will provide some certainty for American companies and help maintain their competitiveness – especially those who import products where there is no domestic or other sourcing alternative – as well as ensure continued access to life saving goods.”

More than 170 trade associations signed on to the letter. The full text of the letter may be found here and below.

October 4, 2022

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

RE:      Extension of Section 301 China Tariffs Exclusions

Dear Ambassador Tai:

On behalf of the undersigned members of Americans for Free Trade, we are writing to request an immediate extension for the limited China 301 tariff exclusions which are set to expire on December 31, as well as the COVID exclusions set to expire this November. It is critical that USTR announce its plans for these exclusions now so that companies can plan accordingly. 

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, powersports, 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.

In the last four years, American importers, including members of our coalition, have been assessed close to $155 billion in section 301 tariffs on products from China. The exclusions granted earlier this year provided limited relief for some companies. Although all these exclusions will expire in the coming months, to date USTR has made no announcement about whether to extend any of them, or even whether the agency supports having any exclusions process at all.  Because American businesses must make supply chain and sourcing decisions many months in advance, the uncertainty created by USTR’s inaction compels our companies to incorporate 25 percent price increases into product lines that may soon be without a Section 301 tariff exclusion.  Upward pricing pressure of this kind will exacerbate inflation in an economy already teetering on the edge of stagflation, leaving consumers – and particularly low-income consumers – with reduced purchasing power and placing more goods out of their reach.

As American businesses continue to face high inflation, ongoing supply chain challenges, and new COVID variants, we urge USTR to provide additional relief by promptly renewing all the exclusions which are set to expire this year. This move will provide some certainty for American companies and help maintain their competitiveness – especially those who import products where there is no domestic or other sourcing alternative – as well as ensure continued access to life saving goods.

In addition, we renew our request for USTR to create a more robust exclusions process – one that is open to all products covered by the China 301 tariffs. We know this sentiment is shared by at least 141 bipartisan House members and 41 bipartisan Senators who have previously made a similar request. As long as the section 301 tariffs remain in place, there should be a fair, transparent, and robust exclusions process available so that American businesses can apply for targeted relief.  

American families, workers and businesses continue to cope during these unprecedented economic challenges, and we believe the administration should use every available tool to provide economic relief and certainty going forward. Renewing exclusions that are set to expire and opening up a new and robust exclusions process will help provide that.

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 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

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

Building Service Contractors Association International (BSCAI)

Business Alliance for Customs Modernization

California Retailers Association

Can Manufacturers Institute

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

Electronic Transactions Association 

Energy Workforce & Technology Council

Experiential Designers and Producers Association Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance

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 & Costume Association (HCA)

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

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 Industrial Transportation League (NITL)

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 Advocacy Network 

Plumbing Manufacturers International 

Power Tool Institute (PTI)

PRINTING United Alliance

Promotional Products Association International

Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association 

Retail Association of Maine

Retail Council of New York State

Retail Industry Leaders Association

Retailers Association of Massachusetts

RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment)

RV Industry Association

San Diego Customs Brokers and Forwarders Assn.

SEMI

Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA)

Snowsports Industries America

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

TechNet

Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA)

Texas Water Infrastructure Network 

The Airforwarders Association

The Fertilizer Institute

The Hardwood Federation

The Vinyl Institute

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

Virginia Association of Chain Drug Stores

Virginia Retail Federation

Virginia-DC District Export Council (VA-DC DEC)

Washington Retail Association

Window and Door Manufacturers Association

World Pet Association, Inc. (WPA)

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AFT Statement on USTR Tariff Continuation Announcement

WASHINGTON, D.C., (September 7, 2022) — Americans for Free Trade (AFT) spokesperson Jonathan Gold released the below statement following last week’s announcement from the Office of the United States Trade Representative that it has received requests to continue Section 301 tariffs on imports from China:

“Last week’s announcement from the United States Trade Representative is a disappointing and frustrating development for the countless American businesses, families, and consumers who continue to be harmed by these tariffs. USTR’s announcement – released late in the day heading into a holiday weekend – failed to provide transparency into the continuation requests it has received, offered no insight into Phase 2 of the review process, and provided no guidance for those who oppose the tariffs to weigh in.

“As we pointed out in our recent comments to the International Trade Commission, these tariffs have cost Americans more than $150 billion to date. Now, as the state of the economy grows increasingly uncertain it is imperative that USTR immediately makes all continuance requests publicly available, and also provides a comprehensive and transparent notice, comment and public hearing process for those hurt by the tariffs to voice their opposition.”

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AFT Calls on USTR to Provide Transparency, Open Up Phase 2 of 4-Year Review

WASHINGTON, D.C., (August 24, 2022) — Americans for Free Trade (AFT) spokesperson Jonathan Gold today released the following statement calling for the immediate publication of comments filed with the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) regarding the extension of Section 301 China tariffs and to open up Phase 2 of their 4-year “Review of Necessity” process.

“We are calling on USTR to immediately make publicly available any comments that have been filed requesting a continuation of the Section 301 China tariffs. The necessity review process required by statute makes clear that the tariffs terminate on their four-year anniversary absent a request from domestic industry that they be continued. While comments have clearly been filed, it is not clear whether they include a continuation request for both Lists 1 and 2 (and by extension, Lists 3 and 4a). With the four-year anniversaries of the tariffs now past, the tariffs should not be allowed to remain in place if USTR does not provide transparency regarding this aspect of the process.

Further, if USTR has received a continuation request, it should immediately announce a process for stakeholders impacted by the tariffs to respond to the continuation requests – including an opportunity to detail how the tariffs have harmed them. American businesses, consumers, workers, and families have already paid over $150 billion in tariffs since the trade war began. This process should include a public hearing.

We call on Ambassador Tai to take action now to release any continuation requests received by USTR and if so, to open Phase 2 of the 4-year review process to allow American companies and industries to provide their input on the tariffs’ harmful impact.”
 

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AFT Statement Following President Biden Call with Xi Jinping

WASHINGTON, D.C., (August 2, 2022) — Americans for Free Trade (AFT) spokesperson Jonathan Gold released the below statement following President Joe Biden’s recent discussion with Chinese President Xi Jinping:

“While it is encouraging to see President Biden and President Xi working to bridge relations between the United States and China, it is essential that trade be at the forefront of any discussion. For more than four years, the tariffs enacted by the Trump administration have added a harmful and unnecessary tension to the bilateral economic relationship between the two countries. The tariffs have not only failed to encourage China to end its detrimental trading behaviors but have created burdensome costs for American families and businesses at a time when inflation is rampant. Businesses, workers and families across the U.S. are relying on the Biden administration to immediately repeal these tariffs.”
 

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