The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) recently issued its ruling in regards to increasing tariffs on Chinese imports and released a list of approximately $200 billion worth of Chinese imports that will be subject to additional tariffs, including flooring products such as vinyl, bamboo, cork, carpet, and ceramic tile. The new 10% tariffs will be effective starting September 24, and will increase to 25% starting January 1, 2019. Already the new policy has affected the flooring industry, Armstrong Flooring having issued a price increase on affected products, and anticipating future increases. Floor Trends reached out to industry leaders to hear their response.
Tim Baucom, executive vice president-residential business, Shaw:Shaw Industries appreciated the opportunity to testify before the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative against the proposed tariff on certain flooring products imported from China. Given the announcement that tariffs will be assessed, Shaw Industries customers purchasing hard surface flooring products manufactured in China will be impacted by this increase. Our goal has been to be transparent with our customers during this process.
Our commitment to our customers is to deliver the right products at the right time. We do so -- just as other global companies in our industry and beyond do -- with a combination of domestically manufactured and internationally sourced products. Shaw has invested more than $1.5 billion in our existing and new U.S. facilities over the past five years to deliver upon this commitment, including a $130 million investment to create domestic LVT manufacturing at Plant RP in Ringgold, Ga. We are continuing investments at Plant RP to build additional product and innovation capability
Rup Shah, president, MSI:We are disappointed that ceramic, porcelain, luxury vinyl tile, glass mosaics and natural stone were not removed from the list. The 10% tariffs that start on Monday combined with the threat of those increasing to 25% by January 1st will immediately start causing harm to consumers, U.S. jobs, and all those involved in the supply chain. We expect to see higher prices across the industry within weeks and if this continues to escalate you will start to see major reductions in demand and job destruction across our industry. For more information, visit ustr.gov.