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News

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.”

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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

AFT Sends Letter to United States Trade Representative Regarding Worker-Centered Trade Policy

WASHINGTON, D.C., (November 16, 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 calling for her to implement a worker-centered trade policy that recognizes the importance of imports, exports, and foreign investment to U.S. competitiveness in the global economy.

“As USTR develops the Biden-Harris Administration’s worker-centered trade policy, it has a rare opportunity to tell the positive story about how trade benefits American consumers and workers,” Americans for Free Trade wrote. “We strongly believe this is the time to focus on a trade policy that benefits all stakeholders. Such a trade policy should cover imports, exports, and foreign investment, all of which play important roles in our economy and society.”

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


November 16, 2021 
The Honorable Katherine Tai
United States Trade Representative
600 17th Street NW
Washington, DC 20508

Dear Ambassador Tai:

On behalf of the Americans for Free Trade coalition, we would like to commend you for your leadership and stakeholder engagement at USTR. After years of unpredictability and a devastating economic crisis caused by the global pandemic, global trade stakeholders welcome a new day and vision. As USTR develops the Biden-Harris Administration’s worker-centered trade policy, it has a rare opportunity to tell the positive story about how trade benefits American consumers and workers. We strongly believe this is the time to focus on a trade policy that benefits all stakeholders. Such a trade policy should cover imports, exports, and foreign investment, all of which play important roles in our economy and society.

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 we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic dislocation, USTR will play a vital role in helping American stakeholders understand how trade raises standards of living, creates job opportunities, enables extensive choices of affordable, high-quality products and services, and creates market opportunities abroad. Trade is essential to all Americans and sectors of the economy; American manufacturers are also importers; American consumers are workers; American farmers are exporters. These segments of the economy all work together to create jobs, innovate, and support our communities across the country.

After years of growing inequality and stagnating wages, we support a trade policy that, as you noted, advances the interests of all Americans who “…benefit from having good jobs, with good wages…” An effective post-pandemic trade policy will help American workers stretch their hard-earned wages when they put on their consumer hats and help American manufacturers gain access to affordable inputs to support their global competitiveness and offer high quality, affordable products that American consumers demand. It will also provide U.S. manufacturers, farmers, ranchers and service providers access to new growth markets around the world, which will create jobs, grow wages, and raise skill and education levels at home.

But too often there is a narrative that imports are relied upon to offer “cheap goods” at the expense of the American worker. Such a view fails to consider the full benefits of imports to the U.S. economy. Imports not only provide American consumers – who are also American workers and families – a greater variety of products at affordable prices, but also help offset inflationary pressures, provide more than half of U.S. manufacturers’ intermediate inputs and components, and enrich our economy with employment in manufacturing, design, engineering, research, logistics, services and more. As noted in the May 2021 “Imports Work for American Workers” report, more than 21 million American jobs rely on imports. These important American jobs, and their value to the U.S. economy, must be considered as part of a holistic worker-centered trade policy.

Today’s economy relies upon interconnected global supply chains, often keeping high-paying, high-skilled jobs in the United States while working with overseas partners for final assembly. These imports reflect a globalized world in which specialized economies and workforces do what they do best, collaborating on products sold around the world. These supply chains are complex and should continue to play to America’s strengths. We encourage the Administration to embrace and support trade policies that both allow U.S. companies to remain globally competitive and open new markets and attract more foreign investment in the United States, in turn creating more American jobs.

As USTR balances stakeholder interests and forges a new path for trade policy, we urge it to publicly embrace the important role that imports, exports, and foreign investment play in creating a strong U.S. economy and how they work together to create benefits for American consumers, manufacturers, retailers, service providers, and, most importantly, American workers. Imports and exports are not in competition with each other but rather support each other and the U.S. industries who rely on them. And foreign investment continues to create jobs, revitalize communities, and expand access to overseas markets for U.S. goods and services.

We all agree that Americans are both “workers and wage-earners” and “consumers”. Underscoring the dignity of work and a decent wage is natural and aligns with our identity as Americans. A trade policy that claims to advance the interests and needs of all Americans should seek to meet them everywhere they work, live, succeed, struggle, and hope in today’s pandemic world. Their future and dignity depend on it.

We look forward to working with USTR and the Biden-Harris Administration on the development of a true worker-centered trade policy that embraces the importance of imports, exports, and foreign investment to both American workers and consumers, as well as to the U.S economy and our global competitiveness.

Sincerely,

Accessories Council
ACT | The App Association
Agriculture Transportation Coalition
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)
Auto Care Association
Beer Institute
Business Alliance for Customs Modernization
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
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
Meat Import Council of America
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
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 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)

AFT Statement Ahead of President Biden Summit with Xi Jinping

WASHINGTON, D.C., (November 15, 2021) — Today, Americans for Free Trade spokesperson Jonathan Gold released the following statement ahead of President Joe Biden’s virtual summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping:

“The bilateral economic relationship between the United States and China has a profound impact on communities throughout the U.S. As President Biden and President Xi continue working to define the future of this relationship, they must keep this impact in mind and make every effort to ease the tensions which have defined our nations’ trading relationship for more than three years. One way to accomplish this, and to provide relief from the recent spike in inflation, is by finally eliminating the tariffs put in place by the previous administration. These tariffs work against U.S. businesses’ ability to compete by adding unnecessary costs, despite having proven they will not change China’s trading behaviors. Open, free, and fair trade is in the best interest of both governments as well as the best interests of the businesses, workers, and families in every community.”

###

AFT Statement On Continued Inflation Concerns

WASHINGTON, D.C., (November 4, 2021) — Today, Americans for Free Trade spokesperson Jonathan Gold released the following statement calling on United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai to remove tariffs on imports from China amid continued concerns over inflation:
 
“As Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen acknowledged in a recent interview with Reuters, tariffs boost costs domestically and raise prices for U.S. businesses and consumers alike. As our nation continues to face concerns over rising prices and supply chain obstacles, it is time for Ambassador Tai and other members of the Biden administration to recognize that leaving the previous administration’s failed trade policies in place will only make the problem worse. For the sake of Americans everywhere, it is time to bring the trade war with China to an end.”

ICYMI: Business leaders are calling for an end to the trade war

The trade war with China has caused American business owners to struggle since 2018. Data from Tariffs Hurt the Heartland shows that the trade war has cost U.S. businesses, workers, and manufacturers over $94 billion. 

Unfortunately, while the trade war continues to devastate the economy, this week United States Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai announced that the Biden administration will keep the previous administration’s failed tariff policy in place. Americans for Free Trade stands with American businesses and expressed disappointment in this news: 

“Leaving the tariffs in place will only continue the harm they’ve done to the American economy. President Joe Biden and Ambassador Tai should prioritize ending the trade war, rather than building on existing tariffs.”

Small business owners agree that it’s time to lift the tariffs. Ann Brunett of The Mitchell Group recently wrote that businesses like hers are doomed so long as harmful practices like the trade war are left untouched.

“If the tariffs are left in place, small-business owners like me will be burdened with the taxes that tariffs add to the products we need to satisfy our customers. Combined with the ballooning shipping crisis, a lot of businesses won’t be able to cope.”

Joe Bell of Aqua Filter Fresh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania echoed this sentiment and noted that ending the trade war is essential in order for our country’s economy to thrive.

“Unless President Joe Biden and United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai move to repeal those tariffs, there will be a large number of businesses and workers who won’t fully enjoy the fruits of the economic recovery.”

Business experts concur“The path forward is clear: Biden and Tai cannot allow the Trump administration’s unacceptable and misguided trade policies to continue,” wrote Dewey Beach Commissioner Paul Bauer.

The time is now to end tariffs and help American businesses recover.

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