American brands are still fighting against the pricing policies introduced by Trump; Current USTR tariffs cripple U.S. goods, resumed growth
The management of Downlite Outdoor, a division of Downlite, a market leader in down and feather processing and a supplier of responsibly sourced performance padding, say the company has been unduly burdened by the current set of tariffs, and USTR tariffs give Chinese manufacturers a competitive advantage over US manufacturers. American small businesses are struggling to survive. COVID is just the most recent challenge.
As reported in the Wall Street Journal on June 13 in an article by Josh Zumbrun, “The Biden administration’s long-awaited revision of the pricing policy can’t come soon enough for an Ohio bedding maker, which says it’s being pummeled by US taxes on imported Chinese feathers. The exclusions that were given to Downlite and thousands of other U.S. companies expired on December 31, 2020, and the U.S. Trade Representative’s office says it will not consider granting new exclusions until he completes a top-down review of tariffs on these and other Chinese imports imposed by the Trump administration. Meanwhile, no tariff has ever been imposed on many finished bedding products from China “
“It’s basically about helping the Chinese right now while hurting American manufacturing,” said Josh Werthaiser, president of Downlite’s feathers and down division.
One of Downlite’s main raw materials was on the government “4A” list which denotes added tariffs, while finished products imported from China were on another list called 4B. The 4A tariff list was finalized and implemented on September 1, 2019, while the other 4B list was never implemented. The result has been that the raw materials needed to manufacture products in America by American workers are now subject to higher tariffs. At the same time, finished products made entirely in China and imported into the United States were “never tariffed”. This unintended consequence continues to give finished products made in China a clear cost advantage over products made in the United States, putting Chinese factories to work while hurting American workers. This remains a crippling challenge for US suppliers and manufacturers.
As the virus ravaged the U.S. economy, small businesses across America were already struggling to survive. Regulation and government policy have added costs and complexity at every turn. US manufacturers bowed under this pressure before COVID, and family businesses are particularly vulnerable. Downlite is one of those family businesses that is fighting for its existence.
Downlite is an American family-owned manufacturer of high quality bedding: pillows, duvets, mattresses. With several factories and warehouses across North America and a long history of supporting American workers, Downlite employs over 400 people in Ohio and North Carolina alone.
When the Trump administration announced tariffs on Chinese imports in 2018, a new set of challenges began. Tariffs on certain raw materials (particularly on the “Tariff List 3”) have made products made in the United States less competitive than similar products made in China.
In response to this policy, Downlite participated in the United States Trade Representative (USTR) hearings to explain why these raw materials should not be subject to a tariff, citing the lack of alternative sources of supply, the likely loss national jobs and rising costs until the end. consumer. Based on the guidance, the USTR removed these raw materials from a list 3.
The good news did not last long. In mid-2019, USTR announced “List 4,” which again included Downlite’s basic raw materials. Downlite returned to Washington, DC, and presented his case again to the USTR. This time, the USTR has decided not to remove these materials from the list. Worse yet, the USTR’s split lists, List 4A, included all materials from China, where less than 75% of the total volume imported into the United States came from China. Consequently, the Tariff remains high for those who appear on these lists. The USTR apparently believed this would help US manufacturers. Unfortunately, this only made matters worse.
Downlite has worked diligently with the current administration and the USTR to reinstate previously approved exclusions. Unfortunately, these rates remain.
Please write to the USTR at [email protected] or the Senate and House to express your support for restarting the tariff exclusion process.