Walorski Leads Letter to USTR Calling for Automatic Renewal of China Tariff Relief
Bipartisan Letter Asks USTR to Inform Congress of Any Resources Needed to Implement List 3 Exclusion Process
WASHINGTON – U.S. Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) and Ron Kind (D-Wis.), along with Senators James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.), today sent a letter to United States Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer urging him to continue to grant tariff exemptions to products that previously received an exclusion until the tariffs are completely lifted.
“Allowing previously granted exclusions to expire automatically even though there is no change in circumstances would be a mistake,” the members wrote, “and we urge you to ensure that products granted an exemption continue to be exempted from tariff application under any list until the tariffs have been completely lifted. Doing so would benefit thousands of U.S. businesses and American families.”
The letter also requests that USTR inform Congress of any resources needed to fully implement the List 3 exclusion process. The members of Congress thanked Lighthizer for creating an exclusion process for List 3 and emphasized it is in the best interest of the nation to automatically renew product-wide exclusion granted under the List 1 and 2 exclusion process.
Earlier this year, Walorski and Kind introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Import Tax Relief Act, which would require the Executive Branch to create an exclusion process for List 3 (and any future list) of Chinese imports subject to Section 301 tariff imposition. In the Senate, a companion version was introduced by Lankford and Coons.
A signed copy of the letter is available here. The full text is below.
June 12, 2019
The Honorable Robert Lighthizer
United States Trade Representative
600 17th St, NW
Washington, DC 20508
Dear Ambassador Lighthizer:
Thank you for your continued engagement with Congress as your office works to resolve a number of outstanding trade issues. Strong leadership and effective policy implementation are essential qualities for a successful resolution to these difficult and complex matters of paramount importance to our nation’s economy.
We want to thank you for your commitment to creating an exclusion process for List 3 of Chinese imports subject to tariffs imposed pursuant to section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. An exclusion process for List 3 is one of the goals of the Import Tax Relief Act we introduced in February. We have talked at length about this, and I am glad that we agree that a clearly defined and executed exclusion process provides needed relief to U.S. importers who are unduly burdened by the tariffs, the costs of which are passed on to American consumers.
As we near the one-year mark of the application of tariffs on Chinese imports included on Lists 1 and 2, we anticipate your office will see the value in automatically granting renewed exclusions for products which had already received an exclusion. Allowing previously granted exclusions to expire automatically even though there is no change in circumstances would be a mistake, and we urge you to ensure that products granted an exemption continue to be exempted from tariff application under any list until the tariffs have been completely lifted. Doing so would benefit thousands of U.S. businesses and American families.
Finally, because List 3 is substantially larger than Lists 1 and 2 combined, we are concerned about the timely processing of exclusion applications under this process. Please communicate to us whether USTR requires additional resources from Congress in order to effectively implement this process. Furthermore, we advise that List 3 exclusions granted should include relief retroactive to September 2018, when the initial tariff was imposed.
It is important the US stand up to Chinese mercantilism, but ever-escalating tariffs threaten our nation’s long-term economic stability. You and President Trump have been clear from the beginning that the tariffs on Chinese imports were imposed in order to bring China to the negotiating table and come to a deal. We urge you to keep negotiating. Find a resolution that holds China accountable without continuing to harm American consumers and businesses.
Thank you again for your attention and prompt response to this matter.
Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.