US delays 10% tariff on some clothing imports from China

August 14, 2019 - United States Of America

The United States Trade Representative (USTR) has announced the next steps in the process of imposing an additional tariff of 10 per cent on approximately $300 billion of Chinese imports. While certain products are removed from the list, imposition of tariff on some other articles has been delayed to December 15. Clothing items are included in both lists.

On May 17, 2019, USTR published a list of products imported from China that would be potentially subject to an additional 10 per cent tariff.  This new tariff will go into effect on September 1 as announced by President Trump on August 1.  However, certain products are being removed from the tariff list based on health, safety, national security and other factors and will not face additional tariffs of 10 per cent, USTR said in a press release.

"Further, as part of USTR’s public comment and hearing process, it was determined that the tariff should be delayed to December 15 for certain articles.  Products in this group include, for example, cell phones, laptop computers, video game consoles, certain toys, computer monitors, and certain items of footwear and clothing," the release said. 

The USTR has also releases two separate list of products on which 10 per cent tariff would become effective from September 1 and December 15. Both lists include clothing items.

"While the Trump administration is delaying tariffs on 'certain items of footwear and clothing' for 105 days, and removing other items from the list entirely, it is still persisting with a destructive plan to impose tariffs on consumer goods used by every American and critical inputs used by US manufacturers," said Rick Helfenbein, president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) in response to the USTR's announcement regarding Tranche 4 tariffs.

"Make no mistake, these tariffs, including the ones imposed in earlier tranches, are paid by the US companies. They create costs and uncertainty, forcing companies to delay or scuttle hiring and investment decisions and ultimately hit the US consumer. Rebalancing our trade partnership with China is of critical importance, but taxing US companies, US consumers, and the US economy is not the way to achieve that goal," Helfenbein said.

Earlier in June this year AAFA, along with approximately three dozen companies from the apparel and footwear industry, had testified against the proposed tariffs. Additionally, nearly 200 industry executives from 138 companies sent a letter to President Trump clarifying the devastating impact tariffs would have on the industry and petitioning a halt action on new tariffs.

In a separate statement, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said, "While we are still reviewing the details, we are pleased the administration is delaying some tariffs ahead of the holiday season and acknowledging the impact on American consumers. Still, uncertainty for US businesses continues, and tariffs taking effect September 1 will result in higher costs for American families and slow the US economy. During this delay period, we urge the administration to develop an effective strategy to address China’s unfair trade practices by working with our allies instead of using unilateral tariffs that cost American jobs and hurt consumers." (RKS)