Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, June 2019
Tariff Hikes on Chinese Goods Cripple US Travel Goods Industry, a Wrong Move to Reduce the Deficit
June 11, 2019
Interview: Tariff hikes on Chinese goods cripple U.S. travel goods industry: business leader
Source: Xinhua| 2019-06-11 17:35:56
NEW YORK, June 11 (Xinhua) --
Slapping additional tariffs on Chinese imports has a huge impact on American travel goods businesses as China has always been U.S. companies' first-choice supplier, a business leader has said.
Nate Herman, director of government relations at the U.S. Travel Goods Association, told Xinhua in a recent interview that tariffs on Chinese goods have already taken a toll on the U.S. travel goods industry and led to damage.
"We pay tariffs ranging from 8 percent to 20 percent, depending on the type of travel goods, so with 25 percent punitive tariffs on top ... our members are forced into a situation that they have to either raise prices or basically eliminate their margins, and if they raise the prices, then there's concern about lowering sales," which would in turn stifle hiring, said Herman.
On May 10, the United States increased additional tariffs on 200 billion U.S. dollars' worth of Chinese goods, which include U.S. imports of travel goods from China, from 10 percent to 25 percent, and has threatened to raise tariffs on some 300 billion dollars' worth of Chinese imports yet to be hit.
Herman, whose association represents about 250 manufacturers and retailers in the country's travel goods industry, said about 82 percent of all travel goods sold in the United States -- luggage, backpacks, handbags, totes, wallets, brief cases, smart phone cases and other travel accessories -- are imported from China.
Vietnam, India and Cambodia currently rank number two, three and four respectively, in supplying U.S. travel goods companies and stores, he said.
Calling China "the first-choice supplier," the senior executive attributed the large amount of U.S.-China collaboration in the industry to the good quality, reasonable price and great innovation of the Chinese products.
He pointed out that tariffs are hitting the U.S. travel goods industry, where 90 percent are small and medium-sized businesses.
Shifting supply chains to other countries is not a realistic option, he said, as building supply chains somewhere else is costly and will take time, and more importantly, "nobody has the capacity of China to produce the travel goods."
As a result, U.S. businesses and consumers will have to absorb the burden.
According to a report from Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, a bipartisan campaign against the levies, increasing duties on Chinese goods to 25 percent would cost a U.S. family of four 767 dollars annually and could lead to a loss of over 934,000 jobs in the country.
Joining numerous business leaders from other industries that have voiced opposition against the U.S. administration's tariff moves, Herman also called on a resolution to U.S.-China trade issues, thus easing the concerns of people from both sides since last year.
"I hope that eventually both sides will see that a trade war does not serve anyone's interest and only hurts the people in each country," he said.
U.S. trade bullying a wrong move to reduce deficit
Source: Xinhua| 2019-06-11 22:39:55
BEIJING, June 11 (Xinhua) --
U.S.-triggered trade frictions failed to narrow its deficit with China, but instead widened the gap, China's customs data of the first five months showed Monday.
According to the General Administration of Customs, China-U.S. goods trade dropped 9.6 percent year on year to 1.42 trillion yuan (about 206 billion U.S. dollars) during the period.
In breakdown, exports to the U.S. edged down 3.2 percent year on year to 1.09 trillion yuan, while imports from the U.S. plunged 25.7 percent year on year to 335.3 billion yuan, pushing China's surplus up 11.9 percent to 750.6 billion yuan.
China's declining trade with the U.S. mirrored that the U.S. market relied heavily on China's products, not the other way around, said Zhuang Rui, deputy dean of the Institute of International Economy from University of International Business and Economics.
Therefore, wielding the tariff stick to fix trade imbalance was a wrong move for the United States, Zhuang pointed out.
A report published by the U.S. Department of Commerce showed that the U.S. deficit in goods trade totaled 891.3 billion U.S. dollars in 2018, hitting a record high in a decade.
Referring to the deficit as a homegrown problem, Stephen S. Roach, a senior fellow at Yale University, maintained that the U.S. trade deficit exposed the imbalance inside its own economy.
Last Thursday, China's Ministry of Commerce (MOC) released a research report analyzing reasons behind bilateral trade imbalance, including industrial competitiveness, international labor division and economic structure.
Only by adopting macroeconomic regulatory measures and striking a balance between supply and demand, can the U.S. utterly eliminate trade deficit with China, China's MOC report said.
If the U.S.-triggered trade frictions keep escalating, it would worsen the economic downturn both in the United States and beyond, adversely influencing different aspects of the U.S. economy, said Li Xuesong, an economist with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
Cooperation is the only right choice for the two countries, and both sides should address differences through dialogue and consultations in the spirit of equality, mutual respect and benefit, Li said.
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