Americans for Free Trade (AFT), a broad coalition of American businesses, trade organizations, and workers united against tariffs sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-23) expressing support for amending the America COMPETES Act of 2022 to include language requiring the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to reinvigorate the exclusion process for products subject to additional tariffs under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.

“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,” Americans for Free Trade wrote. “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.’ A new, transparent, and fair exclusions process would help alleviate the economic burden on American businesses and consumers.”

Two currently proposed amendments to the bill would establish a process enabling a greater number of American businesses to apply for exclusions from the harmful tariffs that remain in place as part of the trade war with China.

173 trade associations signed on to the letter. The full text of the letter may be found here and below.

February 1, 2022

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy
Minority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20510

RE: Support for Section 301 Product Exclusions Process in the America COMPETES Act

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Leader McCarthy:

On behalf of the undersigned members of Americans for Free Trade, we write in strong support of amending the America COMPETES Act of 2022 to include language requiring the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to reinvigorate the exclusion process for products subject to additional tariffs under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. Such a provision was included as part of the Trade Act of 2021 in the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (S. 1260) after an overwhelmingly bipartisan 91-4 vote. We believe such a provision would enjoy broad bipartisan support in the House as well. Especially in light of a bipartisan letter signed by 141 members that was just sent to Ambassador Tai asking for such a process.

We strongly support Amendment 14 (Kind/DelBene/Scott/Houlihan) and Amendment 98 (Murphy/Walorski). We urge the amendments be ruled in order and encourage members to support them.

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 and operate in an inflationary economic environment, we continue to call upon the administration to resolve the ongoing trade war with China. To date, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has assessed over $123.5 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 place 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.” A new, transparent, and fair exclusions process would help alleviate the economic burden on American businesses and consumers.

We welcomed USTR’s announcement in October to open an exclusions process for a limited set of products. However, that process is only available to approximately 1 percent of the original exclusion applications and USTR has yet to announce any new exclusions from the process. To provide meaningful relief, a more robust process is needed. This view is shared by at least 141 bipartisan House members.

Absent a clear indication from USTR that it will use its authority to provide a fair, transparent, and comprehensive exclusions process, Congress must act. We therefore urge the House to include language (Amendments 14 and 98) in the America COMPETES Act that would require USTR to reinstitute a meaningful exclusions process.

Sincerely

ACT | The App Association

Agriculture Transportation Coalition (AgTC)

ALMA, International (Association of Loudspeaker Manufacturing and Acoustics)

American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA)

American Association of Exporters and Importers (AAEI)

American Association of Port Authorities

American Bakers Association

American Bridal & Prom Industry Association (ABPIA)

American Chemistry Council

American Clean Power Association

American Coatings Association, Inc. (ACA)

American Down and Feather Council

American Fly Fishing Trade Association

American Home Furnishings Alliance

American Lighting Association

American Petroleum Institute

American Pyrotechnics Association

American Rental Association

American Seed Trade Association

American Specialty Toy Retailing Association

American Trucking Association

American Wind Energy Association

Arizona Technology Council

Arkansas Grocers and Retail Merchants Association

Association For Creative Industries

Association for PRINT Technologies

Association of American Publishers

Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM)

Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers

Auto Care Association

Beer Institute

BSA | The Software Alliance

Business Alliance for Customs Modernization

California Retailers Association

Can Manufacturers Institute

Carolina Loggers Association

Chemical Industry Council of Delaware (CICD)

Coalition of New England Companies for Trade (CONECT)

Coalition of Services Industries (CSI)

Colorado Retail Council

Columbia River Customs Brokers and Forwarders Assn.

Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA)

Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA)

Consumer Brands Association

Consumer Technology Association

Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA)

CropLife America

Customs Brokers & Freight Forwarders Assn.

of Washington State

Customs Brokers & Freight Forwarders of

Northern California

Distilled Spirits Council of the United States

Electronic Transactions Association

Energy Workforce & Technology Council

Experiential Designers and Producers Association

Fashion Accessories Shippers Association (FASA)

Fashion Jewelry & Accessories Trade Association

Flexible Packaging Association

Florida Ports Council

Florida Retail Federation

Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA)

Fragrance Creators Association

Game Manufacturers Association

Gemini Shippers Association

Georgia Retailers

Global Chamber®

Global Cold Chain Alliance

Greeting Card Association

Halloween Industry Association

Home Fashion Products Association

Home Furnishings Association

Household and Commercial Products Association

Idaho Retailers Association

Illinois Retail Merchants

Association Independent Office Products & Furniture Dealers Association (IOPFDA)

Indiana Retail Council

Information Technology Industry Council (ITI)

International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA)

International Bottled Water Association (IBWA)

International Foodservice Distributors Association

International Housewares Association

International Warehouse and Logistics Association

International Wood Products Association

ISSA – The Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association

Jeweler’s Vigilance Committee

Juice Products Association (JPA)

Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association

Leather and Hide Council of America

Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association

Los Angeles Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Assn.

Louisiana Retailers Association

Maine Grocers & Food Producers Association

Maine Lobster Dealers’ Association

Maritime Exchange for the Delaware River and Bay

Maryland Retailers Association

Methanol Institute

Michigan Chemistry Council

Michigan Retailers Association

Minnesota Retailers Association

Missouri Retailers Association

Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association

Motorcycle Industry Council

NAPIM (National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers)

National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS)

National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD)

National Association of Foreign-Trade Zones (NAFTZ)

National Association of Home Builders

National Association of Music Merchants

National Association of Trailer Manufacturers (NATM)

National Confectioners Association

National Council of Chain Restaurants

National Customs Brokers and Freight

Forwarders Association of America

National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA)

National Fisheries Institute

National Foreign Trade Council

National Grocers Association

National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association

National Marine Manufacturers Association

National Restaurant Association

National Retail Federation

National Ski & Snowboard Retailers Association

National Sporting Goods Association

Natural Products Association

New Jersey Retail Merchants Association

North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM)

North American Association of Uniform Manufacturers and Distributors (NAUMD)

North Carolina Retail Merchants Association

Ohio Council of Retail Merchants

Outdoor Industry Association

Pacific Coast Council of Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Assns. Inc.

Pennsylvania Retailers’

Association PeopleforBikes

Personal Care Products Council

Pet Food Institute

Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council

Plumbing Manufacturers International

Power Tool Institute (PTI)

Promotional Products Association

International Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association

Retail Association of Maine

Retail Council of New York State

Retail Industry Leaders Association

Retailers Association of Massachusetts

RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment)

RV Industry Association

San Diego Customs Brokers and Forwarders Assn.

SEMI

Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA)

Snowsports Industries America

Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA)

South Dakota Retailers Association

Specialty Equipment Market Association

Specialty Vehicle Institute of America

Sports & Fitness Industry Association

TechNet

Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA)

Texas Retailers Association

Texas Water Infrastructure Network

The Airforwarders Association

The Fertilizer Institute

The Hardwood Federation

The Toy Association

Travel Goods Association

Truck & Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA)

United States Council for International Business

United States Fashion Industry Association

US Global Value Chain Coalition

US-China Business Council

Vinyl Institute

Virginia Retail Merchants Association

Virginia-DC District Export Council (VA-DC DEC)

Washington Retail Association

Window and Door Manufacturers

Association World Pet Association, Inc. (WPA)

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