U.S. import tariffs causing ‘unnecessary harm’ — SEMA
WASHINGTON — The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) is adding its voice to those opposing the Trump administration’s expanding penchant for tariffs on imported goods, saying they are harming American companies, workers, and consumers.
“The United States has helped create a global free trade system that includes mechanisms for addressing unfair trade practices,” SEMA President and CEO Christopher Kersting said.
“SEMA cautions the president and lawmakers to work with our trading partners and employ U.S. law judiciously. The current tariffs are a tax on American companies and consumers that are causing unnecessary harm.”
The Diamond Bar, Calif.-based trade association claims that SEMA member companies are grappling with higher-priced steel and aluminum because of global tariffs.
The U.S. government also has initiated “questionable” tariffs on Chinese products, SEMA said, and retaliatory tariffs levied by China and many American allies are in the works.
Beyond that, SEMA said, Mr. Trump has directed the U.S. Department of Commerce to investigate whether imported automobiles and auto parts pose a threat to America’s national security. Hanging in the balance are proposed tariffs of up to 25 percent on imported automobiles and auto parts.
While the premise of the investigation has not been clearly communicated, SEMA said, imposing tariffs would have “damaging consequences for the industry and automotive enthusiasts.”
SEMA member companies employ over 1 million Americans who produce, sell, and install specialty auto parts on every type of automobile built in the U.S. and overseas. SEMA members now are grappling with decisions about passing along price hikes for steel and aluminum to the consumer.
Marketplace confusion with respect to country exemptions and company exclusions remains unresolved, the trade groups added. A new set of tariffs is being imposed on Chinese products, but it is unclear how they will address intellectual property threats and free market access.
“SEMA welcomes efforts by the U.S. government to protect American companies and their customers from unfair trading practices,” Mr. Kersting said. “We urge the president and Congress to pursue trade infringements in a fashion that does not inflict unintended economic harm.”
Other industry trade groups that have voiced their concerns about the tariffs and potential trade war include the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association, Auto Care Association, Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association, National Retail Federation, National Association of Manufacturers.