A new bill that is discreetly moving through Congress is meant to temporarily reduce or eliminate temporary tariffs on 1,662 products.
The moment that those products will come in the U.S. duty-free is going to be a downfall of American manufacturers who will not be able to compete with the rival prices. As an example, Reuters reported that Michael Korchmar’s company was even looking to hire new workers. The family-owned travel-goods company was planning to make a new product, an insulated food bag, and had put out help-wanted notices for up to 30 workers to run the sewing machines in his small factory on Florida’s Gulf Coast. But since the news of the new bill appeared all plans for expansion were put to a full stop.
The duty-free products also include the type of bag Korchmar had planned to produce. He said that the bill is squeezing him out of the market before he had even entered it.
“Given that these products will be able to come into the country duty-free, it’s not likely that there’s any ability for us to compete,” Korchmar said in a recent interview at his factory, which currently employs about 20 people.
Although President Donald Trump touts about slapping protective tariffs on steel and aluminum, lawmakers are continuing to move forward with the legislation that is going to lower already existing protections on more than a thousand of other products. Ranging from chemical to toasters, Congress explains that this is to lower costs for U.S. companies and consumers.
Reuters reports that supporters of the so-called miscellaneous tariff bill, which unanimously passed the House of Representatives in January, say it would boost the economy by getting rid of tariffs designed to protect U.S. industries that no longer exist. The National Association of Manufacturers says U.S. companies pay hundreds of millions of dollars each year on unnecessary import fees.
According to The Hill, the miscellaneous tariff bills, which began decades ago as modest efforts to help U.S. manufacturers, have in recent years become sprawling packages of tariff reductions that undercut domestic producers without the means to defend their interests in Washington.
Meanwhile, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat trying to get several products removed from the current bill, said that Congress needs to be careful for the new tariff reductions not to damage U.S. producers.
“Miscellaneous Tariff Bills should help, not hurt American manufacturers,” Brown said in a statement to Reuters.