US witnesses set to voice opposition to proposed new tariffs on Chinese imports at public hearings

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, June 18, 2019
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Anti-tariff posters are seen on a bike outside the building of U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington D.C., the United States, June 17, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

A series of public hearings regarding proposed U.S. tariffs on approximately 300 billion U.S. dollars' worth of Chinese imports kicked off in Washington on Monday.

Those hearings, to be held by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) daily for two weeks, will be attended by hundreds of witnesses, most of whom are expected to voice their opposition to the proposed tariffs and explain how trade protectionism would hurt their businesses, industries and consumers.

Brent Cleaveland, executive director of the U.S. Fashion Jewelry and Accessories Trade Association, the first witness at Monday's hearing, told the USTR that the industry moved production to China in the 1980s to seek "lower labor costs to service a market constantly looking for greater value."

The tariffs would disrupt the supply chain and "result in employees losing their jobs and American businesses closing their doors," Cleaveland warned.

Cleaveland is scheduled to be joined by witnesses from various industries, including children's products, home appliances, electronics, sporting goods, and apparel and shoes, at the U.S. International Trade Commission in southeast Washington D.C.

The proposed new tariffs are based on the so-called findings in USTR's investigation of China under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, a one-sided tool for Washington to serve its own interests in dealing with trade disputes with other economies.

Twenty-five percent tariffs on some 250 billion dollars' worth in goods from China are currently in effect under a Section 301 trade action, and have already backfired.

Last week, over 600 U.S. companies and associations sent a letter to the White House, urging it to stop escalating trade tensions with China through tariff hikes.

"We know firsthand that the additional tariffs will have a significant, negative and long-term impact on American businesses, farmers, families and the U.S. economy," read the letter, signed by 520 companies and 141 associations. "Tariffs are taxes paid directly by U.S. companies."

According to the anti-tariff campaign Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, the proposed new tariffs, if imposed, would result in the loss of more than 2 million U.S. jobs, add more than 2,000 dollars in costs for an average American family of four, and reduce the value of U.S. gross domestic product by 1 percent, combined with the impact of previously implemented tariffs and retaliatory measures imposed by the Chinese side.

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