Don’t increase tariffs, HFA asks

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Trade barriers suppress economic growth

Higher tariffs are set to take effect Oct. 15. The Home Furnishings Association submitted comments asking the government to change course.

“The Home Furnishings Association fully supports the administration’s objectives in reaching a comprehensive trade agreement with China, but we do not agree that tariffs should be a negotiating tool,” HFA said in comments filed with the Office of U.S. Trade Representative. “Therefore, we respectfully ask that the government suspend the October 15 increase in tariffs on List 3 imports from China and eliminate the existing tariffs.”

List 3 covers most home furnishings products imported from China. Those products are subject to 25 percent import tax. In response to China’s aggressive trade actions, President Trump ordered an increase to 30 percent. Unfortunately, the costs of those tariffs are carried by importers, translating to price increases for retailers and customers.

Tariffs impose huge costs

“A study commissioned by the National Retail Federation in June found that tariffs of 25 percent on furniture could force consumers to spend as much $4.6 billion more than they otherwise would spend on those products,” HFA said in its comments. “However, consumers can also postpone or forgo furniture purchases, choosing instead to address more immediate needs or spend less. Delayed sales translate to fewer jobs and less growth in the near term.”

Even furniture made in the U.S. often contains imported components. Further, there is strong evidence that the U.S.-China trade war is slowing economic growth globally and in the United States.

“Again, we fully support and applaud the administration’s determination to set a better trading relationship with China. However, the use of tariffs to achieve this goal is causing harm in the American homes and businesses where our members and their customers live and work,” HFA added. “We respectfully request the removal of these tariffs. Thank you for the opportunity to submit comments.”

Join HFA’s Government Relations Action Team

HFA CEO Sharron Bradley made similar points in a letter to President Trump mailed Sept. 25. The HFA comments and Bradley’s letter were directed by HFA’s Government Relations Action Team.

HFA members interested in joining the Government Relations Action Team should contact Doug Clark, HFA’s government relations liaison, at 916-757-1167 or dclark@myhfa.org.

 

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