Sending Office: Honorable Erik Paulsen
Sent By:
Colin.Brainard@mail.house.gov

Current Signers: Paulsen, Peters, Lance, Banks, LaHood, Walorski, Comstock, Costello, Sinema, Gibbs, Kind, Vargas, Crist, Brownley, Hultgren, Bera, Schneider, Correa, Carbajal, Eshoo, Emmer, Katko, Garamendi, Bucshon, DelBene, Stefanik, Upton, Kuster, Perlmutter,
Biggs. 

Dear Colleague,

There is no question that the Government of China’s unfair trade practices warrant significant attention.  However, it is important that any efforts to address these problems do not harm U.S. workers, consumers, and businesses. 

Currently, the Trump Administration is proposing Section 301 tariffs on China that will have the effect of diminishing U.S. economic growth, competitiveness, and exports.

United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer recently testified before the House Ways and Means Committee and assured that the Administration’s approach under Section 301 would be to “maximize the pain on China and minimize the pain on U.S. consumers.” 

However, we continue to be concerned that actual or potential tariffs would be a self-inflicted wound — a de facto tax increase on American consumers. 

According to a recent
study
 done for the Consumer Technology Association and National Retail Federation, increasing current U.S. tariffs on televisions by 25% would cost U.S. consumers $711 million in the first year alone; for ink and cartridges, U.S. consumers would pay an
additional $529 million; and costs would also significantly increase for U.S. consumers of computer monitors (by $172 million) and batteries (by $24 million).  The impact for other consumer tech products would be substantial as well.

We would encourage you to join our letter to USTR Ambassador Lighthizer urging him to use the many tools at his disposal to achieve our shared objectives and cautioning against punitive tariffs that would hurt U.S. consumers, workers, and businesses.

Please contact Colin Brainard (colin.brainard@mail.house.gov) or Shantanu Tata (shantanu.tata@mail.house.gov) if you are interested in signing by May 18, 2018.

 

Sincerely,

_________________              _________________

Erik Paulsen                            Suzan DelBene

Member of Congress               Member of Congress

 

LETTER TEXT:

 

May 18, 2018

Dear Ambassador Lighthizer:

We appreciate your commitment to addressing unfair trade practices by the Government of China, however we urge you to do everything possible to address these problems without closing markets, imposing tariffs, or enacting other government regulations that,
might harm large numbers of U.S. workers, consumers, businesses, farmers, and ranchers.

It is clear that China’s policies regarding intellectual property and forced technology transfers have been a source of grave concern for many years, and it is time for a strong response from the United States.   

The challenge, of course, is how best to engage with China in order to secure desired changes in the policies.  We do not believe that the current cycle of threatened tariffs between the United States and China will secure optimal results, and are concerned
that there will be significant unintended adverse consequences to the United States.  Indeed, even the mere threat of tariffs can diminish U.S. economic growth, competitiveness, and exports.  

We appreciated your March 21st comments before the House Ways & Means Committee assuring that the Administration’s approach under Section 301 would be to “maximize the pain on China and minimize the pain on U.S. consumers.”  However, we are already
hearing from our constituents that they could be facing higher costs, reduced production, disruptions in supply chains and lost sales.   

It has been widely reported that actual or potential increased tariffs are already causing pain for U.S. agricultural exports, including pork, soybeans, corn and beef.  Furthermore, we are equally worried that the imposition of these tariffs on everyday
consumer products wound amount to a de facto tax increase that disproportionately affects middle class and low-income American consumers.  

According to a recent study done for the Consumer Technology Association, increasing current U.S. tariffs on televisions by 25% would cost U.S. consumers $711 million in the first year alone; for ink and cartridges, U.S. consumers would pay an additional
$529 million; and costs would also significantly increase for U.S. consumers of computer monitors (by $172 million) and batteries (by $24 million).  

We believe you have many tools at your disposal to achieve our shared objectives.  In particular, we urge you to work as closely as possible with our allies who share our concerns about China’s unfair trade practices, and have begun to address these practices
more directly thanks to US leadership.  We should avoid creating disincentives for our allies to join us in taking strong action, which higher tariffs could do.  The most effective approach is for the international community, and not the United States alone,
to stand up to China’s unfair trade practices.

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: HealthCare, Trade

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