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Threat of new September 1 tariffs increase concerns at America’s ports

PortandTerminal.com, August 2, 2019

The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA), the unified and recognized voice of America’s seaports, is deeply concerned over the renewed threat of increased tariffs. On Twitter yesterday, President Trump criticized the Chinese government for not living up to its trade promise and threatened to retaliate in advance of upcoming talks with an additional 10 percent tariff on Sept. 1.

Background

President Donald Trump abruptly escalated his trade war with China last week, announcing that he would impose a 10% tariff on $300 billion in Chinese imports that aren’t yet subject to U.S. duties after setbacks in negotiations with Beijing. The new tariffs are scheduled to start on September 1st.

Photo: Gene Seroka (Executive Director, Port of Los Angeles) and many other port heads have expressed concern about the continuing tariff war with China.

On June 21, AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle testified as part of a panel organized by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) about the significant consequences of expanded tariffs on ship-to-shore cranes. He made the point that, at a cost of up to $14 million per crane, an additional 25 percent tariff, which the President had earlier threatened to impose, would significantly increase the cost of each crane and reduce the ability of ports to make other needed infrastructure investments to improve the supply chain. His testimony also expressed AAPA’s overall concerns about tariffs.

Ship to Shore Gantry Cranes: “These cranes are only manufactured in China, and there are no alternatives,” Lisa Wieland, Massport Chief Executive Officer

“AAPA is very concerned about the President’s renewed threat to increase tariffs on Chinese goods, and the expected actions that the Chinese government will make in retaliation,” said Susan Monteverde, AAPA’s vice president of government relations. “Among the biggest ticket items on the tariffs list are multi-million-dollar, ship-to-shore gantry cranes used by American ports to load and unload containers from today’s giant cargo ships. The President has the authority to de-list these cranes from the tariffs schedule and we urge him to it.”

“AAPA is very concerned about the President’s renewed threat to increase tariffs on Chinese goods, and the expected actions that the Chinese government will make in retaliation”

During those hearings, public port leaders for the Virginia Port Authority, Port Everglades and the Port of New Orleans also testified about the economic harm these recently-proposed Section 301 tariffs will bring to their state’s employers, workers and communities. Other U.S. seaports submitted similar written comments to the USTR.

The campaign released new data in June that shows Americans have paid nearly $22 billion in additional tariffs since the trade war began.

AAPA fully supports the nationwide campaign against tariffs, called Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, and the statement the campaign issued today regarding the threatened 10 percent tariff on $300 billion in Chinese goods. The campaign released new data in June that shows Americans have paid nearly $22 billion in additional tariffs since the trade war began.

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