USCBC Statement on the Decision to Continue Some Tariff Exclusions on Imports

WASHINGTON—March 24, 2022—While the US-China Business Council (USCBC) welcomes the renewal of tariff exclusions on imports of 352 categories of goods from China, we are disappointed that the Biden administration did not approve the full 549 categories requested. No reason was given for not approving them.

US companies have submitted 53,000 requests for tariff exclusions but fewer than 7,000 were granted. This means that tariffs of around 20 percent will remain on thousands of imported items, many of them intermediate goods needed for manufacturing final products, adding substantial cost for US companies and consumers to pay. These tariffs were added during the Trump administration to punish China, but ended up punishing Americans.

“We know that the tariffs are a tax on US businesses and consumers, that they haven’t influenced China’s behavior—which was the purported justification—they likely contribute to domestic inflation, and they negatively affect US companies of all sizes, especially many smaller businesses that struggle to survive after more than two years of a pandemic,” said Craig Allen, president of USCBC. “The tariffs should be eliminated. They serve no useful purpose or policy goal.”

Candidate Joe Biden was correct when he called then-President Donald Trump’s tariffs “disastrous,” acknowledging that the trade war with China was hurting American farmers and families. 

USCBC encourages USTR to articulate a clear process and criteria to evaluate requests for tariff exclusions. USTR should launch a full and comprehensive exclusion request program so that all importers can request relief. 

USCBC agrees with the 181 congressional representatives that have called for a review of the exclusion process on a bicameral, bipartisan basis.