The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) recently announced that the new list of products targeted for tariffs under the Section 301 investigation may receive an increased rate of 25 percent, up from the initial proposal of 10 percent. The latest list of tariffs includes several products that are popular in the promotional products industry including handbags, luggage, headgear and LEDs, as well as components such as machinery parts and a wide variety of fabrics.

Imposing tariffs on products would likely raise prices for American consumers and promotional products industry companies, and opponents of the move believe the tariffs will fail to address the problems that stem from China’s unfair trade practices.

PPAI is on the record opposing any tariff proposals; due to the rise in consumer prices that results when tariffs are applied to products, tariffs are effectively a tax on consumers. In May, members of Congress heard this message from 80 volunteers during PPAI L.E.A.D., and you can send the same message to your legislators without having to set up a meeting. PPAI LAW has a series of pre-populated letters that can be sent to your member of Congress. Click here to inform your elected officials about the negative impact tariffs would have on the promotional products industry.

The new list will follow the same regulatory procedures as the first list, including a public commenting period that is currently open until September 5, and a public hearing scheduled for August 20-23. PPAI encourages its members to contact the USTR and urge them not to move forward with these tariffs.

The instructions for submitting a written comment can be found on page nine of the Federal Register Notice. The procedures include listing a docket number (USTR-2018-0026), and the register provides a location to make the submissions, which is

With Congress’ annual August recess approaching, industry professionals also have an opportunity to meet with legislators and their staffers to discuss the economic impact of the tariffs and the importance of the promotional products industry. These meetings can take place in a variety of ways, including in-person visits, attendance at various town hall events and inviting the legislator on a tour of work facilities. For information about identifying your member of Congress and contacting them for a meeting, PPAI’s August Recess Advocacy page offers all the tools necessary to plan and execute these initiatives.