Last week the Trump Administration announced its intention to impose substantial tariffs on Chinese imports to retaliate against China’s intellectual property policies. These tariffs would be imposed under a never-used provision of the trade law, Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, which gives the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) the authority to impose tariffs on any country that is not living up to the terms of a trade agreement or that is taking “unjustifiable” actions that restrict U.S. Commerce.
The Tile Council of North America’s (TCNA) government affairs counsel in D.C. reports that the USTR has prepared a list of products that would be subject to import tariffs. This product list, which is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register, would allow for a 60 day public comment period. The list is reported to mostly consist of high-tech products, and was derived from a China central planning document (“Made in China 2025”) that established objectives for the bolstering of high-tech manufacturing in China.
Though tile will likely not be on the list of potential products subject to tariffs, the TCNA and its government affairs team are working with the USTR, the Commerce Department, the White House Council of Economic Advisors, and with key members of Congress to assess whether there will be an opportunity to add products to the China retaliation list and, if so, to push for inclusion of unfairly traded Chinese tile. The TCNA will also participate in the upcoming comment period.