Over the past several weeks, American and Chinese trade negotiators have been inching closer to a deal to roll back the tariffs imposed by and on both countries last year. The importance of a fair, comprehensive US-China trade agreement that includes strong intellectual property protections cannot be understated – especially as North Carolina’s manufacturers continue to grow and export their goods internationally.
However, despite some reports that tariffs may be lifted as a trade agreement materializes, there were new developments just this week. US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer testified before the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday and indicated that while negotiators have made progress, he isn’t entirely ruling out continued tariffs on Chinese imports.
The escalating retaliatory tariffs (and their impact on American businesses) have been controversial, even here in North Carolina. When we polled our membership last summer about how the tariffs were impacting their businesses, responses from North Carolina’s manufacturers ran the gamut from strong support to unequivocal opposition. Some members felt that the tariffs, especially those related to steel production (Section 232), were necessary to reset our lopsided trade relationship and protect American manufacturers. Others, however, were already seeing negative impacts on their company’s business and competitiveness, and were desperately seeking relief.
We know that many of our member companies have been following this issue closely, including some that are involved in these discussions and have been keeping us apprised of developments. On federal issues like this where North Carolina businesses are affected in a variety of different ways, we stand ready to connect you with members of the North Carolina congressional delegation or other resources as needed.
We appreciate the open dialogue we’ve had with many of you and hope to continue hearing feedback on how these tariffs are affecting your business. If a trade agreement is released in the coming weeks, we would welcome your input and feedback to help guide our response on your behalf.
On a related note, if your business is interested in entering into the world of exporting, our friends over at the Economic Development Partnership of NC offer a number of export assistance services and resources. Learn more here.
Gary J. Salamido
Chief Operating Officer and Acting President