Sen. Chuck Grassley said Americans “need to know” the Trump administration understands the economic pain they would feel in a prolonged trade war.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative on Monday afternoon announced that it is seeking public input on a planned fourth tranche of tariffs on China prepared for $300 billion worth of goods in yearly import value.
In a notice prepared for publication in the Federal Register, USTR said the tariffs could reach as high as 25% and would cover essentially all products not currently covered by the first three tranches of tariffs, which encompass about $250 billion worth of imports.
The proposed product list excludes pharmaceuticals, certain pharmaceutical inputs, certain medical goods, rare earth materials and critical minerals, USTR said. Exclusions granted on prior tranches of tariffs will not be affected, the agency said.
The interagency Section 301 Committee will hold a public hearing regarding the proposed additional tariffs starting June 17 at the International Trade Commission in Washington, D.C.
The committee will accept requests to appear and summaries of expected testimony at the hearing through June 10, will accept written comments on the proposed additional tariffs through June 17 and will accept post-hearing rebuttal comments until seven days after the last day of the public hearing.
USTR requests comments regarding any aspect of the proposed tariff action, including specific tariff subheadings to be subject to increased duties, including whether subheadings listed in the annex should be retained or removed, or whether subheadings not currently on the list should be added; level of increase, if any, in the duty rate; and the appropriate aggregate level of trade to be covered by additional duties.
Several observers expressed displeasure in reaction to the tariff announcement.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said he was disappointed by the news of additional U.S. tariffs and Chinese retaliatory tariffs and added that the tariffs increase the urgency of reaching an agreement as soon as possible to end the ongoing bilateral trade war.
“President Trump shouldn’t give up on securing an enforceable agreement that holds China accountable for its abusive trade practices,” Grassley said in a statement. “Stalling, bullying tactics and threats to completely block American products from entering Chinese markets shouldn’t be rewarded.”
Grassley noted that farmers, businesses and consumers in his home state of Iowa will be hurt if additional tariffs take effect, adding that Americans “need to know” the Trump administration understands the economic pain they would feel in a prolonged trade war.
The American Apparel and Footwear Association, Tariffs Hurt the Heartland and the National Retail Federation (NRF) were among the groups that expressed displeasure in reaction to the USTR notice.
“We support the administration’s efforts to deliver a meaningful trade agreement that levels the playing field for American businesses and workers,” NRF CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement. “But the latest tariff escalation is far too great a gamble for the U.S. economy. Slapping tariffs on everything U.S. companies import from China — goods that support U.S. manufacturing and provide consumers with affordable products — will jeopardize American jobs and increase costs for consumers.”