President Donald Trump is reportedly accelerating his efforts to push global industrial supply chains out of China as he considers imposing new tariffs on Beijing over its management of the coronavirus outbreak.
According to Reuters, which cited officials “familiar with U.S. planning,” the Trump administration is “turbocharging” an initiative to remove companies’ sourcing and manufacturing bases outside of China — even if it means those supply chains would move to other nations that aren’t the U.S.
What’s more, the U.S. Commerce Department, State Department and other agencies are working on determining what types of manufacturing should be considered “essential” and how these goods would be able to produced outside of China.
“We’ve been working on [reducing the reliance of our supply chains in China] over the last few years but we are now turbocharging that initiative,” Keith Krach, undersecretary for economic growth, energy and the environment at the U.S. State Department, told Reuters. He added that it was “essential to understand … where the critical bottlenecks exist” and that the government could soon announce new action on the matter.
Trump has long pledged to bring manufacturing home from overseas but ramped up his rhetoric against China ahead of the 2020 presidential election in early November. The president has repeatedly said that he could issue new duties in addition to the up to 25% tax on $370 billion worth of Chinese products that are currently in place.
The tariff issue has been at the top of the footwear agenda for the past several years amid countless developments in the U.S.-China trade relationship. Two weeks ago, American businesses were given a respite from tariff payments after the Treasury Department and the Customs and Border Protection implemented a 90-day payment extension to U.S. importers who have suffered “significant financial hardship” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although it fell short of a deferral or elimination in duties urged by trade groups and retailers, the measure received some praise from industry leaders, who said that the move would help provide liquidity and help companies preserve cash flow at a time when funds are increasingly dwindling due to widespread store closures and subsequently declining sales.