U.S., China Reveal Proposed Tariff Lists

The ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and China continues, with U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer publishing a proposed list of tariffs on Chinese products worth $50 billion in the Federal Register, and China’s Ministry of Commerce saying Wednesday that it would impose tariffs of 25 percent on $50 billion worth of products imported from the U.S.

China did not say when its tariffs, which include products ranging from soybeans to aircraft to automobiles, would go into effect. The proposed U.S. tariffs have entered a 30-day comment period, during which concerned stakeholders can weigh in on the tariffs and the products covered. A committee hearing on the proposed tariffs will be held May 15 in Washington, D.C. May 15 is also the day before PPAI’s Legislative Education and Action Day (L.E.A.D.) begins in Washington, D.C.

The latest round of tariffs is part of a federal government effort to address the concerns of many in the business community regarding a variety of China’s trade policies such as market access barriers and technology transfer mandates. However, numerous members of the business community have expressed opposition to the federal government’s proposed response.

While few products on the USTR’s list directly impact companies in the promotional products industry, the tariffs’ reverberations may be felt throughout the wider U.S. economy. Paul Lage, MAS, CEO of supplier Gill Studios, says, “We are really not directly impacted from the tariffs that are imposed on Chinese imports because most of our products are all made in the USA. However, there is a ripple effect on all businesses when there are significant tariffs. As our suppliers and equipment providers are impacted then we will ultimately be impacted with higher prices. There are many global companies that provide a lot of equipment that we use. As their world changes it will be passed to suppliers, distributors and end users. If there are other issues with other countries there are better ways to resolve them other than using tariffs for leverage.”

PPAI has joined with 44 other trade associations that represent a wide-ranging coalition of the American business community in an effort to inform the federal government about the dangers of imposing tariffs on items that are legitimately produced and traded. The end result of imposing tariffs would likely be higher prices for U.S. consumers and businesses, while failing to adequately address the problems associated with China’s trade policies.

PPAI encourages industry professionals to participate in the public comment period and inform the White House of how harmful these tariffs would be to the promotional products industry. Along with numerous coalition partners, PPAI is participating in a legislative fly-in the week of April 9 that will address the tariff issue. PPAI has also prepared an action alert for members to contact their elected officials regarding the latest tariffs.

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