WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 30, 2021) — Americans for Free Trade (AFT), a broad coalition of American businesses, trade organizations, and workers united against tariffs sent a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy expressing strong support for elements of the Trade Act of 2021 that were included in the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (S. 1260) that recently passed the Senate.
The National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) and National Ski & Snowboard Retailers Association (NSSRA) are among the more than 170 trade associations who signed the letter to Speaker Pelosi and Leader McCarthy.
“As companies in the U.S. continue to recover from the global pandemic, we continue to call upon the administration to resolve the ongoing trade war with China,” Americans for Free Trade wrote. “To date, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has collected over $92 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 risk exacerbating increasing concerns regarding inflation.”
The full text of the letter may be found here and below.
June 30, 2021
RE: House Action on USICA, Section 301 Product Exclusions Process
Dear Speaker Pelosi and Leader McCarthy,
On behalf of the undersigned members of Americans for Free Trade, we are writing to express strong support for elements of the Trade Act of 2021 that were included in the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (S. 1260) recently passed by the Senate. As the House considers how to proceed on USICA, we believe it is critical that the House join the Senate in passing legislation that includes the Trade Act of 2021, especially Section 73001, to reinvigorate the exclusion process administered by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) for products subject to additional tariffs under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.
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, we continue to call upon the administration to resolve the ongoing trade war with China. To date, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has collected over $92 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 risk exacerbating increasing concerns regarding inflation. They are 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.”
Section 73001 of USICA would 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 December 31, 2022. It would also require USTR to implement a new product exclusion process and outlines specific criteria for USTR to consider in determining whether to grant an exclusion. Under these criteria, the exclusion process will function in a fair, consistent, and transparent manner and ensure that American businesses do not suffer disproportionate economic harm as a result of the tariffs.
USTR has thus far failed to act unilaterally – as Section 301 authorizes it to do – to reinstate expired product exclusions or reinvigorate the product exclusion process, it is essential the Congress act. Further, it appears that USTR may wait until its ongoing China trade policy review concludes before taking up this issue at all. That means that businesses in urgent need of relief right now will not get it for months. For these reasons, we urge the House to include the Trade Act of 2021 and especially Section 73001, with technical corrections as needed, in any appropriate upcoming legislative vehicles.
We look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to address the ongoing negative impact of the tariffs on American businesses, American workers, and American consumers by fully lifting the Section 301 tariffs. In the interim, reinstituting a fair and transparent exclusion process in the interim 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.
Americans for Free Trade