Companies plead for exemptions at US-China tariff hearings

World Today

In Washington D.C., it was day two of public hearings on proposed U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods. Hundreds of companies are pleading for exemptions to the tariffs, which could be as high as 25 percent. Meanwhile, trade talks between China and the United States are also set to get underway.

CGTN’s Nathan King reports.

Belle Chou rushes to the airport after giving testimony, but not before telling CGTN that the proposed tariffs are already hitting her disposable glove business hard.

“Since the trade talks in May our projected sales for this year is supposed to be 25 percent growth, but as of today we are experiencing a 10 percent loss in our business,” said Chou, President of Shen Wei (USA). “That is because customers are hesitant to accept other substitutes from other countries.”

Belle is a Chinese-American, based out of California. In Washington today, there are other Chinese citizens presenting their case.

Xiao Zhiyuan’s flooring business is in Jiangsu province north of Shanghai, but national distinctions don’t matter that much to him in this globalized world. Tariffs are going to hurt nearly everyone, he says.

“With an extra 25 percent it’s a disaster for our flooring [business],” said Zhiyuan of Jiangsu Beier Decoration Materials Company.

Tariffs will hit this Chinese flooring business, but ultimately the tariffs will be paid by its U.S. customers.

A hike as high as 25 percent will hit other U.S. company bottom-lines, and threaten jobs. That’s the overwhelming message from these hearings, no matter where the businesses are based.

Most of the companies at this week’s hearings are asking for products they rely on to be exempted from the next round of tariffs. They are unlikely to be successful. So far, the Trump administration has only granted a handful of exemptions out of tens of thousands of applications. Current U.S. trade policy may have a lot of critics, but the Trump administration is sticking to it, at least, for now.