U.S. importers, manufacturers, retailers, and others hammered by years of higher tariffs on imports from China should keep pressing the White House for relief, said Nicole Bivens Collinson, head of ST&R’s government relations practice.

Section 301 tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of goods from China would have expired this past summer but the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced in September that it had received numerous requests to continue them. USTR subsequently launched a review of the tariffs and is accepting comments through Jan. 17 on a number of related issues, including whether the tariffs have been effective; their impact on U.S. consumers, workers, manufacturers, and supply chains; and possible alternatives. USTR is also interested in whether there are goods not currently subject to the tariffs that should be.

Collinson noted that nearly five years after the tariffs were initially imposed, many companies have grown frustrated and fatigued at trying to persuade the federal government to ease the enormous costs they are imposing. The Biden administration signaled in early 2022 that changes could be coming but ultimately abandoned that effort. Most exclusions have expired, some with little notice, and USTR has made no move to reinstate them or consider new ones. Federal agencies have taken steps to crack down on legitimate efforts to avoid the tariffs and to make sure they are applied as broadly as possible. Retailers, doubtful of securing any meaningful relief, have started to pass tariff costs on to consumers.

But the battle isn’t over, Collinson said, and anti-tariff forces need to rally once more to avoid certain defeat. She explained that if USTR doesn’t hear how much the tariffs are harming U.S. importers, manufacturers, retailers, consumers, workers, and others, it may assume that the costs are minimal, that companies have adapted, and that the tariffs can be continued with impunity. This would be particularly harmful as inflation continues to soar and the domestic and global economic environments grapple with unprecedented challenges and uncertainty.

Now is the time to make your voice heard, Collinson said, and ST&R can help you prepare and submit your comments to USTR. For more information, please contact Nicole Bivens Collinson at (202) 730-4956 or via email or Ned Steiner at (202) 730-4970 or via email.

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