After months of anxiety and carefully watching the latest Twitter attacks, this week the Trump Administration declared war on American consumers. Until now, the Administration has argued that the tariffs on China were just a tool to keep the pressure on during trade talks that were going to cover everything from stopping counterfeits to revising the entire economic system in China. There might be some tough times for certain industries, and definitely tough times for American farmers, but – so the story went – there was the promise of substantial growth in exports and more regulation of forced technology transfers and IPR violations.
But that all changed yesterday with the announcement that the Trump Administration is planning to put 25 % tariffs on ALL imports from China. In the notice released by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative there are 135 pages of tariff lines that are now threatened with additional tariffs up to 25 %. These tariffs are a tax that will be paid by American companies and ultimately by American consumers. A recent study commissioned by Tariffs Hurt the Heartland estimates that imposing tariffs of 25 percent on these imports from China, combined with the impact of retaliation, cost the average U.S. family of four nearly USD 2300 each year. Plus the economic impact would jeopardize more than 2 million American jobs.
What policy-makers seem to be forgetting is that many of these products are already highly taxed. Clothing and shoes for American families are currently taxed more than USD 15 billion per year. And, these tariffs already are extremely high — tariffs on clothing can be as high as 32 %. Tariffs are a direct tax on the American consumer—and will affect consumers at all income levels, from the single parent struggling to make ends meet as they purchase back-to-school necessities for their kids, to the consumer of high-end fashion manufactured in the United States, and every American family in between.
These tariffs on imports of clothing, home textiles and footwear will do little to punish China for its intellectual property and technology transfer practices but do a lot to harm American fashion brands and retailers as well as consumers of their products. Let us work together to find a solution that does not use American companies and American families as the hostages to a trade deal.
The United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) is dedicated to fashion made possible by global trade.
USFIA represents brands, retailers, importers, and wholesalers based in the United States and doing business globally. Founded in 1989, USFIA works to eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers that impede the fashion industry’s ability to trade freely and create jobs in the United States.
Headquartered in Washington, D.C., USFIA is the voice of the fashion industry in front of the U.S. government as well as international governments and stakeholders. With constant, two-way communication, USFIA staff and counsel serve as the eyes and ears of our members in Washington and around the world, enabling them to stay ahead of the regulatory challenges of today and tomorrow. Through our publications, educational events, and networking opportunities, USFIA also connects with key stakeholders across the value chain including U.S. international service providers, suppliers, and industry groups.