Tariff Initiatives Continue to Impact Electroindustry

Tariff Initiatives Continue to Impact Electroindustry

This piece was originally published in the September 2018 issue of electroindustry.

Craig Updyke, Director, Trade and Commercial Affairs, NEMA

On August 21, NEMA testified before an interagency committee chaired by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) regarding Administration proposals to place tariffs on a third list of products made in the People’s Republic of China. The third list was developed by the agencies in reaction to Beijing’s imposition of retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products and refusal to assuage U.S. complaints about intellectual property and industrial policies.

“If tariffs are still judged by the Administration to be an effective, attention-getting tool in bringing about changes to support U.S. companies trying to do business in China, we urge the use of tariffs to be much narrower than proposed and very short-lived,” said NEMA President and CEO Kevin Cosgriff. “Specifically, if the tariffs are intended to bring China to negotiations, when can industry expect those negotiations to begin in earnest?”

The first round of 25 percent increases in U.S. tariffs on certain Chinese goods took effect on July 6, including approximately 100 types of electroindustry products, which together accounted for $8 billion in imports from China in 2017. A second tranche of tariff increases entered into force on August 23, targeting $2 billion of electroindustry imports from China. A third round, aimed at $18 billion of electroindustry products as part of an overall $200 billion target list, could go into effect this month.

On August 3, China’s Ministry of Commerce announced a plan to place tariffs of 5, 10, 20, or 25 percent on many goods imported from the U.S., including 150 types of electroindustry products, if Washington implements more tariffs. To date, China has imposed 25 percent tariffs on a total of $50 billion in U.S. shipments already, including medical resonance imaging and x-ray units as well as agricultural products.

In the past six months, U.S. and Chinese tariffs on manufacturing inputs and components as well as finished goods have dramatically expanded the electroindustry’s tariff profile, building on the Administration’s tariffs on steel and aluminum imports that took effect in March and June.

Member companies are using new NEMA tools to assess and communicate with federal, state, and local officials about the impact of the tariffs on their businesses and, where possible, seek relief.

To take action, visit https://nema.quorum.us.

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