US firms: Tariffs on China will cost jobs, wipe profits, Latest Business News - The New Paper

US firms: Tariffs on China will cost jobs, wipe profits

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WASHINGTON : A broad range of US companies told a hearing in Washington on Monday they have few alternatives to China for producing clothing, electronics and other consumer goods.

The comments came on the first of seven days of hearings that began on Monday, held by the US Trade Representative's Office (USTR), on US President Donald Trump's plan to hit another US$300 billion (S$412 billion) worth of Chinese imports with tariffs.

Sourcing from other countries will raise costs, in many cases more than the 25 per cent tariffs, some witnesses told US trade officials.

Mr Mark Flannery, president of Regalo International, a maker of baby gates, child booster seats and portable play yards, said pricing quotes for shifting production to Vietnam - using largely Chinese-made steel - were 50 per cent higher than current China costs, and quotes from Mexico were above that.

Child safety products such as car seats were spared from Mr Trump's previous tariffs.

But in the drive to pressure China, USTR put them back on the list, along with other products spared previously.

The proposed list will be ready for a decision by Mr Trump as early as July 2.

Mr Marc Schneider, chief executive of fashion marketer Kenneth Cole Productions, said 25 per cent tariffs would wipe out the company's profits and cost jobs.

In a letter addressed to the USTR ahead of the hearing, clothing retailer Ralph Lauren asked for apparel and footwear to be removed from the tariff list, arguing a rise in duties would lower sales and lead to US workers losing their jobs. - REUTERS