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Trump’s China Tariffs Are Still in Place, But Industry Groups Unite to Challenge Them

Multiple retail organizations are speaking out against the United States Trade Representative (USTR) tariffs on Chinese imports to the U.S., which they say have negatively impacted retail and fashion.

On Monday, the American Apparel & Footwear Association, the Retail Litigation Center, the National Retail Federation, the Consumer Technology Association, the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America, the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, and the Toy Association filed a “friend of the court” amicus brief in the US Court of International Trade.

The brief was made in support of lawsuits filed by more than 6,000 plaintiffs in September of 2020, arguing that the List 3 and List 4A tariffs under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 were unlawful. The lawsuits claimed that the imposed tariffs, introduced in 2018, were not connected to any investigation of China’s trade practices.

The Trump Administration introduced large tariffs against Chinese imports in 2018, following an investigation into China’s trade practices with regard to forced technology transfer and intellectual property rights protection. Since then, certain businesses have paid high taxes on imported Chinese goods, resulting in higher prices for consumers. These tariffs have continued throughout the Biden Administration.

The brief, written by individuals who are not directly involved in the case, is meant to offer the court information and perspective on the topic. It also criticizes the USTR for not giving businesses enough time to analyze the impact of the tariffs on the supply chain and for not responding to concerns and testimony from impacted individuals.

“Those proposed tariffs implicated hundreds of billions of dollars of imports and impacted almost every facet of the U.S. economy,” reads the brief. “Many stakeholders, including amici’s members must plan out their international supply chains and delivery schedules months in advance. Not surprisingly, these businesses needed time to review the hundreds of thousands of products they sell to evaluate the availability and feasibility of alternative non-Chinese sources and to assess impacts on supply chains and retail operations.”

The brief described the tariffs as “a hidden tax on US consumers, hurting domestic producers, retailers, and customers alike” which have a negative impact on the US economy.

In July, the American Apparel & Footwear Association sent a second letter to the White House to request tariff reliefs amid a shipping crisis during the back-to-school and holiday shopping seasons.

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