BUSINESS US witnesses set to voice opposition to proposed new tariffs on Chinese imports at public hearings

BUSINESS

US witnesses set to voice opposition to proposed new tariffs on Chinese imports at public hearings

Xinhua

20:52, June 18, 2019

Anti-tariff posters are seen on a bike outside the building of US International Trade Commission in Washington D.C., the United States, June 17, 2019. A series of public hearings regarding proposed US tariffs on approximately 300 billion US dollars' worth of Chinese imports kicked off here on Monday. (Photo: Xinhua/Liu Jie)

WASHINGTON, June 17 (Xinhua) -- A series of public hearings regarding proposed US tariffs on approximately 300 billion US dollars' worth of Chinese imports kicked off here on Monday.

Those hearings, to be held by the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) daily for two weeks, will be attended by hundreds of witnesses, most of whom are expected to voice their opposition to the proposed tariffs and explain how trade protectionism would hurt their businesses, industries and consumers.

Brent Cleaveland, executive director of the US Fashion Jewelry and Accessories Trade Association, the first witness at Monday's hearing, told the USTR that the industry moved production to China in the 1980s to seek "lower labor costs to service a market constantly looking for greater value."

The tariffs would disrupt the supply chain and "result in employees losing their jobs and American businesses closing their doors," Cleaveland warned.

Cleaveland is scheduled to be joined by witnesses from various industries, including children's products, home appliances, electronics, sporting goods, and apparel and shoes, at the U.S. International Trade Commission in southeast Washington D.C.

The proposed new tariffs are based on the so-called findings in USTR's investigation of China under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, a one-sided tool for Washington to serve its own interests in dealing with trade disputes with other economies.

Twenty-five percent tariffs on some 250 billion dollars' worth in goods from China are currently in effect under a Section 301 trade action, and have already backfired.

Last week, over 600 US companies and associations sent a letter to the White House, urging it to stop escalating trade tensions with China through tariff hikes.

"We know firsthand that the additional tariffs will have a significant, negative and long-term impact on American businesses, farmers, families and the US economy," read the letter, signed by 520 companies and 141 associations. "Tariffs are taxes paid directly by US companies."

According to the anti-tariff campaign Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, the proposed new tariffs, if imposed, would result in the loss of more than 2 million US jobs, add more than 2,000 dollars in costs for an average American family of four, and reduce the value of US gross domestic product by 1 percent, combined with the impact of previously implemented tariffs and retaliatory measures imposed by the Chinese side.

Anti-tariff posters are seen on a life vest outside the building of US International Trade Commission in Washington D.C., the United States, June 17, 2019. A series of public hearings regarding proposed US tariffs on approximately 300 billion US dollars' worth of Chinese imports kicked off here on Monday. (Photo: Xinhua)

Anti-tariff posters are seen on a fishing gear outside the building of US International Trade Commission in Washington D.C., the United States, June 17, 2019. A series of public hearings regarding proposed U.S. tariffs on approximately 300 billion US dollars' worth of Chinese imports kicked off here on Monday. (Photo: Xinhua)

Terms of Service & Privacy Policy

We have updated our privacy policy to comply with the latest laws and regulations. The updated policy explains the mechanism of how we collect and treat your personal data. You can learn more about the rights you have by reading our terms of service. Please read them carefully. By clicking AGREE, you indicate that you have read and agreed to our privacy policies

Agree and continue