A six-day long cluster of meetings on Mr Trump’s proposal to slap a 25 percent levy on Chinese-made products such as bikes, wedding gowns and even coffins, started today.
The levy was proposed by the Trump administration to push Beijing into talks about trade practices that the officials say discriminate against US companies or allow the theft of intellectual property.
But the US government today heard that very little product manufacturing will return to the nation because Chinese manufacturers have the expertise to produce at high volume and lower prices.
The eye-watering list of goods that affected include Chinese seafood, furniture, lighting products, tires, chemicals, plastics and car seats for babies.
In more than 1,400 written comments submitted to United States Trade Representative, most businesses argued the tariffs will cause harm and higher costs for products ranging from Halloween costumes and Christmas lights to nuclear fuel inputs, while a small number praised them or asked that they be extended to other products.
Executive Stephen Lang, owner of Mon Cherie Bridals, in New Jersey, testified today. He said: “We can’t make wedding gowns and prom dresses in the United States. Nobody wants to do this work.
“I can’t find people who will do hand-beading. If there were options to go outside of China, the entire world would.”
James Day, of Massachusetts sportswear firm ’47 Brand LLC, said: “Most consumers cannot or would not pay 25 percent more for a ball cap.
“And if this increase in tariff takes effect, our business will stagnate or decline altogether.»
The Internet Association, representing companies including Facebook Inc and Amazon.com Inc, said the tariffs «would cause disproportionate economic harm to American internet companies. The list includes products that impact how internet companies function”.
Texas’s Centennial Casket Corp President Douglas Chen added the $200 billion tariff list would cause «great loss» and raise costs for «grieving families purchasing caskets for their loved ones at one of the worst times of their life”.
Donald Trump tweeted on Friday: “All of the fools that are so focused on looking only at Russia should start also looking in another direction, China. But in the end, if we are smart, tough and well prepared, we will get along with everyone!”
Craig Allen, US-China Business Council President, warned the tariffs could create “grave economic distortions”, but added Mr Trump had been clear to China about the problems in trade between the two countries.