The White House announced it will impose a 25% tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese technology goods. The list of covered imports is scheduled to be published June 15. The original list of goods slated for tariffs earlier this spring did not include textiles.
NCTO president and CEO Auggie Tantillo , at the recent USTR hearing, declared that Chinaâ€™s domination of global textile markets has been aided by intellectual property theft. He said that, â€œFrom the violation of patents on high performance fibers, yarns and fabrics to the infringement of copyrighted designs on textile home furnishings, China has gained pricing advantages through blatantly illegal activities. Putting 301 tariffs on Chinese textile and apparel exports would send a long overdue signal that these predatory actions will no longer be tolerated.â€
Responding, the HFPA noted that some U.S. home textiles importers still operate substantial domestic â€œfill and finishingâ€ operations employing thousands of employees that would be financially hobbled by tariffs. It noted that, â€œAll our companies are still substantial, vibrant businesses that hire Americans, buy a wide range of goods and services in this country, and support their local communities. We do not see how higher tariffs (on top of already higher than average tariffs), that will terminate thousands of jobs, drive up prices for all Americans, and still have no chance of bringing back domestic manufacturing in our industry will help our country.â€ In a seeming reference to NCTOâ€™s testimony, the letter addressed the â€œalleged â€˜domestic industryâ€™â€ support for higher tariffs as a means of revitalizing U.S. manufacturing. Also it noted that, â€œUnfortunately, the infrastructure of the textile industry no longer exists. It would take years and hundreds of millions of dollars of investment to rebuild the yarn factories, weaving mills and dye houses we need to support domestic manufacturing,â€ HFPA wrote, â€œIt is difficult to envision investors in such facilities knowing that if a future administration or Congress reduced the tariffs, the investment would become worthless.â€
The HFPA wrote, â€œIncreasing tariffs, whether on products from China or any other country, will lead to significantly higher prices, and inevitably, lower sales and fewer jobs in our industry. These proposed tariffs, if implemented, have the potential to put many of our companies out of business, and worse still, they will not help bring textile manufacturing back to this country.â€
Its letter was sent last week to New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, the Office of the United States Trade Representative, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, the Chair of the Ways and Means Committee, The Chair of the Finance Committee and President Donald Trump.
The Home Fashion Products Association (HFPA) has issued a letter rebutting the argument for placing tariffs on Chinese textiles imports. The U.S. Industrial Fabrics Institute (USIFI) and Narrow Fabrics Institute (NFI) joined the NCTO in a 24-page statement supporting the action. The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) gave testimony to The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) in favor of such tariffs on May 17.
The shift of home textiles manufacturing to Asia was highly undisciplined, and several companies did not survive the transition, the HFPA noted in its argument against the proposal. Levying a tariff on Chinese imports would deal a hard blow to the roughly 500 U.S.-based home textiles companies in the business.
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