SIIA, Americans for Free Trade Statement on Biden's 2022 Trade Policy

AFT Submits Statement for the Record on Biden Administration’s 2022 Trade Policy Agenda

WASHINGTON, D.C., (April 13, 2022) — Today, Americans for Free Trade (AFT), a broad coalition of American businesses, trade organizations, and workers united against tariffs submitted a statement for the record to leadership of the Senate Finance and House Ways & Means Committees following the committees’ hearings regarding the Biden administration’s 2022 Trade Policy Agenda. 

“As companies in the U.S. continue to recover from the global pandemic, face supply chain disruptions, and operate in an inflationary economic environment, we continue to call upon the administration to use more strategic tools to address China’s unfair trade practices without further damaging U.S. competitiveness,” Americans for Free Trade wrote. “We continue to call for an end to the China 301 tariffs that have had a disproportionate economic impact on American companies, consumers, and workers and that have failed to change China’s unfair trade practices.”

In addition to calling for an end to existing Section 301 tariffs, AFT urged the committees to include language in a conferenced China competition bill that would require the Office of the United States Trade Representative to reinstitute a comprehensive, transparent, and fair exclusions process – with retroactivity – for products subject to the Section 301 tariffs. Beyond that, AFT urged the committees to inquire about USTR’s plans for reviewing the tariffs, including timing and opportunities for stakeholder input.

The full text of the letter may be found here and below.


April 13, 2022
The Honorable Ron Wyden                                       The Honorable Mike Crapo
Chairman                                                                   Ranking Member
Senate Finance Committee                                       Senate Finance Committee
Washington, DC 20510                                             Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable Richard Neal                                    The Honorable Kevin Brady
Chairman                                                                  Ranking Member
House Ways & Means Committee                            House Ways & Means Committee
Washington, DC 20515                                             Washington, DC 20515
RE:     Statement for the Hearing Record: The President’s 2022 Trade Policy Agenda
Dear Chairman Wyden, Ranking Member Crapo, Chairman Neal, and Ranking Member Brady,
The Americans for Free Trade coalition, a broad alliance of American businesses, trade organizations, and workers united against tariffs, respectfully submits this written statement to include in the public record of the House Ways & Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee’s (“the Committees”) 2022 Trade Policy Agenda hearings, which took place on March 30 and 31, respectively. We appreciate the Committees holding hearings on this important matter.
By way of background, Americans for Free Trade represents every part of the U.S. economy including manufacturers, farmers and agribusinesses, powersports, retailers, technology companies, service suppliers, natural gas and oil companies, importers, exporters, and other supply chain stakeholders. Collectively, we employ tens of millions of Americans through our vast supply chains.
As companies in the U.S. continue to recover from the global pandemic, face supply chain disruptions, and operate in an inflationary economic environment, we continue to call upon the administration to use more strategic tools to address China’s unfair trade practices without further damaging U.S. competitiveness. To date, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has assessed more than $130 billion dollars in tariffs from U.S. companies who import products from China. These taxes increase the cost of doing business in the United States and place a financial burden on U.S businesses – negatively impacting their ability to invest in their companies, hire more American workers, innovate cutting-edge goods and services and remain competitive globally.
We continue to call for an end to the China 301 tariffs that have had a disproportionate economic impact on American companies, consumers, and workers and that have failed to change China’s unfair trade practices. But until the tariffs are lifted, we believe reinstituting a fully retroactive section 301 exclusion process for all covered products is critical to providing interim relief for U.S. businesses. According to a recent Moody’s Investor Service Report, the tariffs “hit American businesses and consumers hardest,” with China absorbing only 7.6 percent of the tariffs “while the rest of the tab was picked up by Americans.” Further, recent articles have highlighted that the tariffs are having a modest but real impact on inflationary pressures.  A new, comprehensive, transparent, and fair exclusions process would help alleviate the economic burden on American businesses and consumers.
We welcomed USTR’s announcement in October to open an exclusions process for a limited set of products. However, that process was only available to 549 products, which is approximately 1 percent of the original exclusion applications. USTR recently announced the reinstatement of 342 of the 549 exclusions, but it did not explain why the remaining requests were denied or why the exclusions were retroactive only to October 12, 2021. While these 342 reinstated exclusions are an important first step, a more robust process is needed to provide meaningful relief. This view is shared by at least 141 bipartisan House members and 41 bipartisan Senators who recently wrote to Ambassador Tai urging USTR to open a broader exclusions process. During the Trade Agenda hearings, many Members of the Committees asked Ambassador Tai whether USTR intended to make available a broader exclusion process. Ambassador Tai responded that she was happy to discuss the issue further with Members of Congress and that USTR would continue to consider a broader exclusions process if circumstances warranted it. These responses provided no insight to the Committees or the public regarding USTR’s intentions for opening a broader exclusions process or what circumstances might prompt USTR to do so.
Absent a clear indication from USTR that it will use its authority to provide a comprehensive, transparent, and fair exclusions process, Congress must act. We therefore urge the Committees to include language in a conferenced China competition bill that would require USTR to reinstitute a comprehensive, transparent, and fair exclusions process – with retroactivity – for all products subject to the section 301 tariffs, not just an arbitrary, narrow subset of products.
As the Committees may also be aware, List 1 of the China 301 tariffs is set to expire in July unless USTR receives a petition for a continuation of the tariffs, which we understand is almost certain to occur. Such a request would trigger a review process under the statute, requiring USTR to examine the effectiveness of the tariffs in achieving their objectives and other actions that could be taken, as well as the effects of such actions on the U.S. economy, including consumers.
While USTR would only be required to conduct this review with respect to List 1, we have written to Ambassador Tai urging USTR to include all four tariff lists in its review. A single review for all four tariff lists would create administrative efficiencies for USTR and American companies. It would also permit a more holistic assessment of whether the tariffs achieved their stated objectives and provide a full picture of the impact the tariffs have had to the U.S. economy, as well as American businesses, workers, and consumers. It would also give USTR the opportunity to consider whether the 301 tariffs represent the best path forward considering U.S. companies continue to face many of the same challenges with respect to trade with China today as they did when the tariffs were first imposed.
Further, it is essential that the review process be fully transparent and include a public comment period and public hearings to ensure that the Administration gives all stakeholders – including stakeholders who pay the tariffs –the opportunity to provide input. A review that does not include the American businesses, workers, farmers, and consumers burdened by the tariffs would be inconsistent with the commitments USTR has made in its Transparency Principles, congressional testimony, and the 2022 Trade Policy Agenda and 2021 Annual Report regarding public outreach, engagement, and transparency.
We strongly support a fully transparent review of the Section 301 tariffs on products from China, including a comprehensive economic assessment of the tariffs’ impact on American businesses, workers, farmers, and consumers. We urge the Committees to inquire about USTR’s plans for reviewing the tariffs, including timing and opportunities for stakeholder input. We believe the review presents an important opportunity to assess the tariffs and determine whether this Administration will continue them as part of its China trade policy.
We appreciate the Committees’ continued engagement on these critical issues and urge it to continue weighing in with the Administration to ensure that destructive tariffs are lifted, and that a new and more effective approach to addressing China’s unfair trading practices is adopted. We thank the Committees for holding these hearings and look forward to continuing to work with you.


Accessories Council
ACT | The App Association
Agriculture Transportation Coalition (AgTC)
ALMA, International (Association of Loudspeaker Manufacturing and Acoustics)
American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA)
American Association of Exporters and Importers (AAEI)
American Association of Port Authorities
American Bakers Association
American Bridal & Prom Industry Association (ABPIA)
American Chemistry Council
American Clean Power Association
American Coatings Association, Inc. (ACA)
American Down and Feather Council
American Fly Fishing Trade Association
American Home Furnishings Alliance
American Lighting Association
American Petroleum Institute
American Pyrotechnics Association
American Rental Association
American Seed Trade Association
American Specialty Toy Retailing Association
American Trucking Association
Arizona Technology Council
Arkansas Grocers and Retail Merchants Association
Association For Creative Industries
Association for PRINT Technologies
Association of American Publishers
Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM)
Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers
Auto Care Association
Beer Institute
BSA | The Software Alliance
Business Alliance for Customs Modernization
California Retailers Association
Can Manufacturers Institute
Carolina Loggers Association
Chemical Industry Council of Delaware (CICD)
Coalition of New England Companies for Trade (CONECT)
Coalition of Services Industries (CSI)
Colorado Retail Council
Columbia River Customs Brokers and Forwarders Assn.
Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA)
Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA)
Consumer Brands Association
Consumer Technology Association
Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA)
CropLife America
Customs Brokers & Freight Forwarders Assn. of Washington State
Customs Brokers & Freight Forwarders of Northern California
Distilled Spirits Council of the United States
Electronic Transactions Association
Energy Workforce & Technology Council
Experiential Designers and Producers Association
Fashion Accessories Shippers Association (FASA)
Fashion Jewelry & Accessories Trade Association
Flexible Packaging Association
Florida Ports Council
Florida Retail Federation
Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA)
Fragrance Creators Association
Game Manufacturers Association
Gemini Shippers Association
Georgia Retailers
Global Chamber®
Global Cold Chain Alliance
Greeting Card Association
Halloween Industry Association
Home Fashion Products Association
Home Furnishings Association
Household and Commercial Products Association
Idaho Retailers Association
Illinois Retail Merchants Association
Independent Office Products & Furniture Dealers Association (IOPFDA)
Indiana Retail Council
Information Technology Industry Council (ITI)
International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA)
International Bottled Water Association (IBWA)
International Foodservice Distributors Association
International Housewares Association
International Warehouse and Logistics Association
International Wood Products Association
ISSA – The Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association
Jeweler’s Vigilance Committee
Juice Products Association (JPA)
Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association
Leather and Hide Council of America
Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association
Los Angeles Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Assn.
Louisiana Retailers Association
Maine Grocers & Food Producers Association
Maine Lobster Dealers’ Association
Maritime Exchange for the Delaware River and Bay
Maryland Retailers Association
Michigan Chemistry Council
Michigan Retailers Association
Minnesota Retailers Association
Missouri Retailers Association
Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association
Motorcycle Industry Council
NAPIM (National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers)
National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS)
National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD)
National Association of Foreign-Trade Zones (NAFTZ)
National Association of Home Builders
National Association of Music Merchants
National Association of Trailer Manufacturers (NATM)
National Confectioners Association
National Council of Chain Restaurants
National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA)
National Fisheries Institute
National Foreign Trade Council
National Grocers Association
National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association
National Marine Manufacturers Association
National Restaurant Association
National Retail Federation
National Ski & Snowboard Retailers Association
National Sporting Goods Association
Natural Products Association
New Jersey Retail Merchants Association
North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM)
North American Association of Uniform
Manufacturers and Distributors (NAUMD)
North Carolina Retail Merchants Association
Ohio Council of Retail Merchants
Outdoor Industry Association
Pacific Coast Council of Customs Brokers and
Freight Forwarders Assns. Inc.
Pennsylvania Retailers’ Association
Personal Care Products Council
Pet Food Institute
Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council
Plumbing Manufacturers International
Power Tool Institute (PTI)
PRINTING United Alliance
Promotional Products Association International
Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association
Retail Association of Maine
Retail Council of New York State
Retail Industry Leaders Association
Retailers Association of Massachusetts
RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment)
RV Industry Association
San Diego Customs Brokers and Forwarders Assn.
Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA)
Snowsports Industries America
Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA)
South Dakota Retailers Association
Specialty Equipment Market Association
Specialty Vehicle Institute of America
Sports & Fitness Industry Association
Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA)
Texas Water Infrastructure Network
The Airforwarders Association
The Fertilizer Institute
The Hardwood Federation
The Toy Association
Travel Goods Association
Truck & Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA)
United States Council for International Business
United States Fashion Industry Association
US Global Value Chain Coalition
US-China Business Council
Vinyl Institute
Virginia Retail Merchants Association
Virginia-DC District Export Council (VA-DC DEC)
Washington Retail Association
Window and Door Manufacturers Association
World Pet Association, Inc. (WPA)

Articles Related to Tariffs’ Effect on Inflation:


The Hill | April 10, 2022

Peterson Institute for International Economics | March 30, 2022

The Washington Post | Feb. 8, 2022

Star Tribune | Feb. 6, 2022

Vogue Business | January 5, 2022

The Wall Street Journal | December 5, 2021

Harvard Kennedy School | Dec. 1, 2021

Progressive Policy Institute Newsletter

Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco | February 25, 2019

Administration Comments on Tariffs & Inflation

CNBC | Nov. 30, 2021

CNN | Nov. 21, 2021

Nov. 14, 2021

Reuters | Nov. 1, 2021

Recent AFT Coalition Member Pieces:
2 Years Since Trade Deal with China, Tariffs Aren’t Working for American Businesses
EntrepreneurMSN | Feb. 11 2022
Trade Wars Worsen Shipping Crisis
Townhall | Sept. 7, 2021
Joe Bell: Ongoing trade war limits recovery for U.S. businesses
Tribune Review | June 23, 2021
Repeal Tariffs to Boost the Economy, Help Small Businesses
RealClearMarkets | March 25, 2021
Removing tariffs is key to economic relief
Washington Examiner, Feb. 24, 2021