Thursday, August 23, 2018
[Washington] FCW was boots-on-the-ground here in D.C. this week attending Section 301 testimony regarding the proposed 25 percent tariffs on approximately $200 billion worth of imported Chinese goods, including linoleum, plywood and stone.
According to the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), the proposed tariffs are a supplemental action in response to what the USTR reported it views as China’s unfair trade practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property and innovation. This is based on USTR findings from an investigation of China’s trade practices under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. Tariffs on $34 billion in goods from China are currently in effect, and tariffs on an additional $16 billion will take effect on August 23, 2018.
Here at the International Trade Commission (ITC), FCW sat in on testimony from industry executives such as Marisa Bedrosian from Bedrosians Tile & Stone; Chris O’Connor of Congoleum; Brian Carson from Mohawk Industries; Rupesh Shah of MS International; Eric Astrachan of the Tile Council of North America; and, Metroflor/Halstead’s Harlan Stone who spoke on behalf of the recently formed American Consumers and Workers Justice Coalition (ACWJC).
Other businesses from outside the flooring industry testified here as well including Bissel, GE Appliances, FitBit, iRobot and Dollar Tree, among many others.
It should be noted that those testifying on behalf of the flooring industry were commended by the committee hearing the testimonies for “bringing the most passion” to their testimonies.
Those in favor of the tariffs argued the added duties on imported goods from China will help boost domestic production and protect U.S. intellectual property; while those critical of the tariffs argue it will stifle product innovation and ultimately lead to a costlier end product for consumers.
In response to the tariffs, the Chinese government announced on June 16, 2018 that it too would consider imposing a 25 percent tariff on U.S. goods with a value of $50 billion, and later confirmed on July 6 that it would be moving forward with the proposed tariffs, according to USTR in an earlier release.
Stay tuned to FCW for more coverage on the Section 301 hearings.
— Mallory Cruise-McGrath