The US administration’s reported plan to institute a 90-day deferral on most-favoured nation (MFN) tariffs that is being pushed by the importing and retailing industries would defer certain tariffs, including those on finished apparel products, but is an ill-advised policy that will hurt the US textile industry at the very time it is answering the call of the nation to produce medical supplies to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the National Council of Textile Organisations (NCTO).
NCTO urged the government to abandon any moves to defer tariffs on finished products.
NCTO has been at the forefront of the efforts to deploy resources, converting production lines to manufacture urgently-needed medical supplies like face masks and their textile components to address the critical need for personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical and sanitation supplies in the fight against the novel coronavirus.
“These unnecessary tariff concessions would benefit importers and retailers at the direct expense of manufacturers on the front lines of the COVID-19 response and send a demoralising message,” NCTO president and chief executive officer Kim Glas said a statement.
Tariff deferrals would severely exacerbate ramifications for the U.S. economy, manufacturers and workers and open the floodgates for imports, he said.
If the US government makes tariff concessions during this crisis, it will invite a virtual tsunami of imports, further devastating domestic manufacturing as it attempts to regain its footing, he added.