(File photo: VCG)
WASHINGTON, June 22 (Xinhua) -- Mike Bober, president and CEO of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, said Friday that the current and planned tariffs, plus the Chinese retaliations, are having a significant impact on pet trade and American pet owners.
In his testimony at a hearing over the Trump administration's threatened 25 percent tariff hike on 300 billion U.S. dollars' worth of Chinese products, Bober said two-thirds of U.S. households own at least one pet, and most of the toys for their pets come from China.
Pet products of textile and plastic materials, such as bowls and toys, as well as certain live fish, are included in the proposed tariff list. The "vast majority" of these products come from China and cannot be replaced simply with similar goods from an alternate source, he said.
Pet garments, training equipment and glass housing will all be subject to new tariffs that will "necessarily result in higher costs" to pet owners, Bober said, calling the U.S. administration's tariff actions not "pet-friendly."
"Many of the toys and products included in the newest list of proposed tariffs are very important to the health and well-being of pets. They provide enrichment and activity, training and comfort," Bober told Xinhua.
"The current and planned tariffs, and the resultant Chinese retaliations, are having a significant impact on the pet trade ..." he said, noting that Chinese companies' participation dropped significantly last year, with "trade uncertainties" cited as a contributing factor in these changes.
Paul Hunt, senior vice president of PetSmart Inc., brought a therapy dog named Chobe to the hearing.
"Every day he works with nursing homes, hospitals, schools," Hunt said in the testimony, while noting that "sadly" Chobe and his owners, along with pet parents across the country, are facing a price rise for their pet products due to the tariffs.
"Given the known benefits of pet ownership," Hunt said his company would urge the administration to reconsider the application of an additional duty on these products.