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Japanese companies oppose U.S. additional tariffs on China

  • June 15, 2019
  • , Kyodo News , 10:50 a.m.
  • English Press

WASHINGTON — U.S. subsidiaries of Japanese companies, as well as American and Chinese businesses, have voiced opposition to President Donald Trump’s proposed tariffs of up to 25 percent on an additional $300 billion of Chinese products.


Companies such as Epson America Inc., Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC and Mitsubishi Chemical Corp., as well as U.S. industry groups expressed their stances before the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative holds a hearing starting next week on the proposed tariffs.


Epson said it will request the Office of the USTR to remove from the potential list of products subject to additional duties projectors, large format printers, receipt printers and scanners, citing “a detrimental impact on U.S. consumers and businesses.”


“While Epson supports the initiatives of the administration and agrees with the need to address unfair trade policies and inadequate protection of intellectual property rights, imposing additional tariffs on these products would not be effective in obtaining the elimination of China’s acts, policies and practices,” the company said in a recent statement.


“Instead, the tariffs will only impose additional burdens on U.S. business and consumers,” it said.


Epson is among more than 300 companies that will testify before the hearing, which will be held from Monday to next Friday, and also on June 24 and 25 at the U.S. International Trade Commission.


Sony Interactive Entertainment said that in the hearing, it “will explain how the imposition of additional tariffs on video game consoles imported from China would harm American small businesses, consumers and innovation.”


Ranging from video game consoles and smartphones to textiles and footwear, the envisaged levies would cover about 3,800 items.


If enforced, the tariffs — together with duties imposed so far — would see nearly all Chinese imports taxed.


Nate Bolin, a partner of Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP who is counsel to Mitsubishi Chemical, said that in the hearing, the Japanese company will discuss the impact of the proposed tariffs on its U.S. manufacturing operations and workers as well as customers in the United States, such as U.S. manufacturers of lithium-ion batteries.


Mitsubishi Chemical “notes that these specialty chemicals are unavailable in sufficient quantities outside of China in order to meet the rapidly growing demand for electric vehicles in the United States,” Bolin said.


The American Apparel & Footwear Association, which represents hundreds of retailers and manufacturers, said the additional tariffs will have “a significant, negative and long-term impact on American businesses, farmers, families and the U.S. economy.”


“Broadly applied tariffs are not an effective tool to change China’s unfair trade practices,” the group said. “Tariffs are taxes paid directly by U.S. companies…not China.”


On May 10, the Trump administration raised U.S. tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25 percent from 10 percent, in the biggest escalation yet in Washington’s tit-for-tat trade war with Beijing.


With the action, the administration now imposes a 25 percent duty on a total of $250 billion in imports from China, in response to alleged intellectual property and technology theft by Chinese companies.

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