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Tariffs put American businesses under huge pressure

By Zheng Qi (People's Daily)    10:06, June 25, 2019

Patricia Phillips, president of a chemical manufacturer SNP Inc., said her company is in a life-or-death situation because of the additional tariffs proposed by the U.S. government on Chinese imports.

Phillips made the remarks on June 20, the fourth day of the seven-day public hearing on Washington’s plan to impose additional tariffs on nearly $300 billion worth of more Chinese imports held by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR).

Located in North Carolina, SNP specializes in producing sodium alginate products. Chinese companies are the most important suppliers of raw materials for SNP, Phillips said.

Her father passed away a few days ago, but she must attend the hearing at this crucial moment, expressed Phillips, almost weeping. Phillips said her company was set up with painstaking efforts by her father 58 years ago, and they have been working very hard all these years to make SNP what it is now.

It is the second time for SNP to take part in the public hearings. Phillips hurried to attend her father’s funeral immediately after she stated her views in front of the officials at the hearing.

With facts and data, U.S. business owners from various fields including textile, chemical industry, medical field, clothing, glasses, jewelry, and sport products, elaborated on the irrationality of the tariffs and the importance of Chinese supply chains.

Founder and CEO of a design and development company of high-end women’s lingerie in Massachusetts brought some of the company’s products to the hearing. Each of the products was handsewn with 30 to 45 pieces of cloth, which requires high standards of manufacturing techniques.

She had investigated 14 countries other than China, but none of which can meet her company’s requirements for production, according to the CEO, who told the officials about her experiences of trying to find substitutes for Chinese manufacturers.

She said that workers in these countries do not want to do such tedious jobs which involve handcraft like hand sewing and beading. Some worker couldn’t meet the company’s quality standards, and some factories couldn’t deliver goods in time.

Ryan McFarland, founder and CEO of Strider Sports International Inc., was born in a family which was familiar with bike racing. In order to build a suitable bike for his son, McFarland made a balance bike by himself and hence set up the brand Strider, which has sold more than 2.5 million bikes around the world.

McFarland’s success owes much to Strider’s cooperation with a manufacturer in Ningbo, east China’s Zhejiang province. Today, the U.S. government’s plan to impose additional tariffs on more Chinese imports pose a serious problem for Strider, which has shelved its domestic expansion and recruitment plan in the U.S.

Doug Hill, president of AFX Helmets, drove over 1,000 kilometers to the hearing from Michigan. Showing People’s Daily motorcycle helmets of his company, Hill explained that the products contain patented technologies of his company’s manufacturing partner in Guangzhou, capital of south China’s Guangdong province.

The partner’s high-tech materials not only make the helmets lighter, but enhance the protective performance of the helmets, said Hill.

If the additional tariffs were to be put into practice, the price of the company’s products would be raised from $80 to $120, which means consumers might become reluctant to replace their helmets even if they degrade, or just buy cheaper products, according to Hill, who pessimistically predicted that the sales volume of his company could drop by 50 percent because of the additional tariffs. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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