US apparel industry calls for tariff relief amid shipping crisis
American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) President and CEO Steve Lamar sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Ambassador Katherine Tai asking for tariff relief of section 301 which are the remnants of the Trump administration’s trade war.
The organization says tariffs directly threaten the survival of thousands of businesses facing unprecedented disruption to shipping.
“Uncontrollable freight rates and historic congestion at US ports create delays and costs that wreak havoc in supply chains,” Lamar wrote. “Every American business, whether directly engaged in international trade or indirect beneficiary of international trade, is affected by the chaos and rising costs caused by the shipping crisis. “
He adds: This holiday season – which should be a time of big party – will be marred by empty store shelves, inflation and lost jobs in the United States. And the interconnected value chains of our economy mean that this pain will be widely felt as businesses and communities that thought they were isolated will be increasingly exposed to this damage. ”
The AFOA is asking the USTR to use its authority to provide immediate and short-term relief by retroactively reinstating expired Section 301 exclusions and suspending the collection of Section 301 tariffs to the AFOA. to come up. According to the AFOA, the millions of dollars made available by these actions would help the companies hardest hit by the shipping crisis and alleviate the shortage of truck chassis, caused in part by the Section 301 tariffs imposed on imported chassis.
“Prompt action by the administration can help stabilize and begin to reverse this crisis. We implore you to use the tools at your disposal to provide the kind of immediate and short-term relief that businesses need today to survive this existential threat. We urge you to retroactively reinstate the expired Item 301 tariff exclusions. In addition, we urge you to suspend the application of all item 301 tariffs in the future. Combined, these actions would immediately put millions of dollars at the disposal of the companies hardest hit by the shipping crisis. ”
Lamar continues, “While these actions will not speed goods through our ailing port infrastructure – for that we need swift and decisive action from other government agencies – they will free up resources that are needed. businesses today need to manage historic freight costs and other transportation surcharges they need. now know. This relief will be a crucial lifeline, allowing businesses to operate and employ U.S. workers, as we also strive to facilitate port traffic and address other supply chain challenges. ”
Lamar’s correspondence follows a letter sent to President Biden earlier this week regarding the shipping crisis in which Lamar urged the President to take action to end the situation he says is already leading to higher prices. high, rotten produce, manufacturing shutdowns and empty store shelves.
AFOA also wrote to the President in July expressing concerns about the effects of the shipping crisis and rising inflation on the US clothing and textile industry.
Earlier this week, AFOA applauded Biden’s pledge to double the U.S. donation of Covid-19 vaccines and calls to support hard-hit Vietnam and Bangladesh.