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Impact of Tariffs on your Business 

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Jean G. Schtokal
July 2018 Business & Corporate Law News E-Blast
July 17, 2018

We are fielding questions from companies about who they can talk to about the impact of the increase in tariffs on their business (whether that is an increase in US tariffs on imports or increases in foreign tariffs on US exports). We have been recommending that companies ask for a meeting with or write to their US Senators and House members explaining the impact of the tariffs on their business's bottom line, on new equipment purchases and expansion plans, and on hiring plans. 

By way of example, here is a link to the letter the US Chamber of Commerce recently (June 26, 2018) sent to the Members of the US Senate regarding support for Senate Bill 3013, which would require the President to submit to Congress any proposal to raise tariffs in the interest of national security. The letter is one page long, but has seven pages of listings of supporting organizations including national trade associations, state and local chambers of commerce, and business and economic development groups, including the Detroit Regional Chamber.  

On July 2nd, the US Chamber also released a new analysis that outlines the state-by-state impact of retaliatory tariffs from China, the European Union, Mexico, and Canada that have been imposed in response to the new U.S. tariffs on imported goods. It highlights the hardest-hit products, and shows the total number of jobs supported by global trade in each state. 

For Michigan, $2.3 billion of state exports will be subject to retaliatory tariffs. Steel and aluminum products, as well as automobiles, are among Michigan’s hardest hit. Here is a link to the information compiled by the US Chamber on the impact to Michigan of the tariffs. If your company also has plants in other states you can search information regarding other states via this link. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, industries, and geographic regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

The National Association of Manufacturers has taken the approach of supporting a bill that would eliminate US tariffs on imported products for which there is no or insufficient domestic production/availability. They organized more than 190 organizations (representing industries ranging from chemicals, agriculture, textiles and machinery) that signed a letter to Congress urging expedited passage of that bill. The bill passed the House and is currently before the Senate.

In addition to meeting with and writing their US elected officials, independent businesses are encouraging their customers to help with the effort. Here is an example from Moog Music Inc. (an employee-owned, 60-year-old American manufacturing company in North Carolina) regarding the tariff on imported circuit boards (it includes a sample letter to elected officials.)

The US Department of Commerce will hold a public hearing on the new proposed US tariffs (on imports of autos, trucks and auto parts in the interest of national security) on July 19th in Washington, D.C. The hearing is open to the public and more information is available here.

Contact information for members of the US Senate representing Michigan can be found at this US Senate link. Contact information for the US House of Representatives representing Michigan can be found at this US House link. To discuss other options such as requesting exclusions, filing comments, auditing classifications and use of foreign trade zones, please contact Jean Schtokal.