(Yicai Global) Oct. 12 -- US firms are making last-minute efforts to petition the US government regarding the potential damage to their interests caused by the China-US trade frictions and plead with authorities to spare them higher tariffs.
The Office of the United States Trade Representative received 2,874 applications for customs exemption from the US firms as of 12.00 a.m. on Oct. 9 Eastern US time, Yicai Global learned.
The US government began to impose an additional tariff on about USD34 billion products imported from China under 818 taxation categories at a 25 percent rate from July 6. However, USTR enabled those domestic firms affected by the additional tariff to file a petition for customs exemption within 90 days with a deadline of Oct. 9.
Most of the firms applying for exemption said in their applications that they cannot find any firms able to produce the products they import from China.
One example is IMA Life North America, which aims to avoid tariffs on its pharmaceutical freezing dryer racks that it imports from China because neither the US nor any other country apart from China is able to produce such racks and the extra tariff will severely harm the company's business.
Manncorp, an electric appliance supplier, wrote in its petition that the 25 percent tariff will cause extra costs for the company which will eat up its entire profits if it doesn't gain exemption and will have to reduce employees' salaries as a result.
Many congressmen' names are also seen in the petitions because employment is involved.
Republican senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran and Republican representative Roger Marshall from Kansas, for example, helped Benchmark Plastics, a small firm in Kansas, apply for exemption. Benchmark Plastics has only four employees and plans to employ 16 more over three years.
The above-mentioned congressmen said in the petition that Benchmark Plastics ordered expensive equipment from "a reputable Chinese manufacturer" early this year to expand its business. However, the cost to buy such equipment soared after the Trump administration increased the tariff to 25 percent and it will "leave lasting damage on the company's future".
Occupational trade specialists will review all the petitions, and the exemption, once granted, will be valid for one year from July 6, 2018.
Editors: William Clegg