Washington, DC – The US chemical industry is calling on the Trump administration to remove all chemicals and plastics from the latest list of products on which additional tariffs are being proposed.
In all, List 3 includes 1505 chemicals and plastics products, with a value of about $16.4bn. According to the American Chemistry Council’s director of international trade, Ed Brzytwa, the US’s ability to supply chemicals would otherwise be damaged, and China’s suppliers handed an advantage.
Testifying before the US Trade Representative Section 301 Committee, Brzytwa said, ‘If tariffs on the $2.2 billion in chemicals and plastics imports that appeared on List 2 would weaken the competitiveness of the U.S. chemicals industry, then the $16.4 billion in tariffs on additional products of chemistry in List 3 would have a potentially irreparable impact on our industry’s economic structure and supply chain.
‘We reiterate, in the strongest possible terms: the best way to preserve the interests of the U.S. chemicals industry and indeed the entire manufacturing sector is by removing chemicals from the front lines of this trade war.’
Brzytwa also expressed frustration that the Administration had not removed 152 chemicals and plastics imports from List 2, and cautioned that additional tariffs on imports from China would invite further retaliation and send US manufacturing into a tailspin from which it may not be able to fully recover.
China has already published four more retaliation lists, threatening to impose tariffs of 5–25% on imports from the US. About a fifth of these are chemicals and plastic products.
‘A trade war will neither achieve a more balanced trading relationship between the U.S. and China nor advance the interests of the U.S. economy, manufacturers, and consumers,’ Brzytwa concluded. ‘We strongly urge the U.S. government to avoid this action, rescind the tariffs currently in effect, and therefore pre-empt additional retaliation by China.’
ACC is not the only US chemical industry trade body to call for the removal of Chinese origin chemicals from the lists. The Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA) says the tariffs will have a ‘disproportionate impact’ on the specialty chemical sector.
By putting tariffs on raw materials or intermediates coming into the U.S., the Administration is aiding China’s ‘Made in China 2025’ plan. ‘This increase in tariffs will raise the cost of manufacturing higher-value products in the US and make such products less competitive globally,’ Matt Moedritzer, SOCMA’s manager of legal and government relations, testified to the committee.
‘By keeping the status quo, domestic specialty and fine chemical manufacturers remain competitive in the global market because Chinese companies will not be incentivised to enter these high-end, technically challenging and expensive-to-enter markets,’ he said.