In the continuing battle of tit-for-tat tariffs between the United States and China, USCIB submitted comments to the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) on July 23 regarding the proposed 25 percent tariffs on $16 billion worth of Chinese imports. This list of goods followed the first consultation on proposed 25% tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports, which resulted in the imposition of tariffs on $34 billion on July 6, 2018.
“Tariffs are a blunt tool with many unintended consequences on U.S. businesses,” said Eva Hampl who leads USCIB’s work on China. “They will significantly impact U.S. companies’ ability to export and create important jobs in the United States. They will also negatively impact U.S. customers, increasing competitiveness in the United States for foreign competitors. The Administration’s proposed tariff list was drawn up without significant input from the U.S. business or manufacturing community. The public comment process is the principal means to solicit information from U.S. businesses. Therefore, the Administration must use this process to ensure that its actions in this China 301 process do not inadvertently harm some of the most competitive sectors of the U.S. economy, and the hundreds of thousands of American jobs that depend on them. Tariffs should only be used as leverage toward a negotiated outcome and should not be imposed while negotiations are ongoing.”
USCIB’s comments also applauded the Administration for looking at alternative approaches, such as initiating a World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute by requesting consultations with the Chinese government regarding certain specific aspects of China’s technology regulations considered in the investigation. “In addition to engaging the WTO process, this should include developing a strategy with clearly defined objectives, direct negotiating mechanism with the Chinese, targeted deliverables, and deadlines with measurable results,” added Hampl. “The Administration should also coordinate in various available forums with like-minded trading partners who are similarly afflicted by China’s actions on intellectual property rights, forced technology transfer, and discriminatory industrial policies.”
USCIB’s comments to USTR were supplemented by a separate multi-association letter on $16 billion worth of tariffs. USCIB will also put together comments on the $200 billion list of proposed additional 10% tariffs on Chinese imports.