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U.S. trade groups request extension to comment on tariffs on Chinese imports

The request for an extension comes after President Joe Biden announced the tariff increases last month.

A broad coalition of American business groups has requested the Biden administration extend the public comment period for proposed steeper tariffs on Chinese imports, including EVs, batteries, and solar products. The coalition, organized under the “Americans For Free Trade” umbrella, has asked for an additional 30 days, effectively delaying the August 1 start date for many of these duties. The group, comprising 173 trade associations, represents various industries, including manufacturing, retail, technology, agribusiness, energy, and transportation.

In a letter to the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office (USTR), the coalition argued that the extension until July 28 would serve the public interest. They also requested a public hearing on the matter, similar to those held in 2017 and 2018 for previous tariff considerations. The letter, dated July 6, emphasized the need for more time to gather comprehensive feedback on the proposed tariff modifications, which affect 387 product categories and include a quadrupling of duties on Chinese EVs to over 100% and a doubling of semiconductor duties to 50%, set to take effect on August 1.

The request for an extension comes after President Joe Biden announced the tariff increases last month, aimed at protecting U.S. manufacturers in strategic sectors from the impact of Chinese industrial overcapacity flooding global markets. USTR then announced a short, 30-day public comment period for the new tariffs.

The business groups, actively surveying their membership for feedback, noted that they need additional time to fully assess the proposed tariffs’ impact. “We are actively surveying our collective membership to gather feedback on the projected impacts of the proposed modifications and document them in a manner that is most helpful to USTR,” the letter stated. “However, our members have indicated that they require additional time to gather and assess such information given the breadth of the 387 product categories slated for higher duties and the submission format.”

A spokesperson for USTR could not be reached for immediate comment on the extension request. Meanwhile, another policy group led by the United Steelworkers Union and domestic manufacturing companies has called for even stronger trade barriers against Chinese imports. The Alliance for American Manufacturing urged the U.S. to reinstate a long-expired legal tool to counter Chinese import surges, a measure first enacted when China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

The Semiconductor Industry Association, the Information Technology Industry Council, the American Chemistry Council, the Beer Institute, the National Retail Federation, the Halloween and Costume Association, and the American Trucking Association were among the groups signing the extension request letter. The letter was signed by auto and truck parts associations, while trade groups representing auto and EV manufacturers notably excluded them. These groups, which use and sell goods imported from China, emphasized in the letter that they employ tens of millions of Americans through vast supply chains.

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Jaelyn Campbell
Jaelyn Campbell
Jaelyn Campbell is a staff writer/reporter for CBT News. She is a recent honors cum laude graduate with a BFA in Mass Media from Valdosta State University. Jaelyn is an enthusiastic creator with more than four years of experience in corporate communications, editing, broadcasting, and writing. Her articles in The Spectator, her hometown newspaper, changed how people perceive virtual reality. She connects her readers to the facts while providing them a voice to understand the challenges of being an entrepreneur in the digital world.

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