The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) has reiterated its call for a swift resolution to the country’s dispute with China and warned any additional tariffs would harm US workers, companies, consumers and communities.

Testifying during the first panel of the Tranche 3 Section 301 China tariff hearings being held by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) this week, the AAFA emphasised its strong support for efforts to seek a “swift and meaningful” resolution to the underlying disputes with China.

But as it has testified previously, the AAFA said tariffs on the apparel and textile industry’s legitimate intellectual property will not do this and will, “perversely, leave the field open for those bad actors who do steal US fashion IP through online counterfeiting”.

The USTR is this week holding public hearings at the US International Trade Commission in Washington regarding the additional tariffs on around US$200bn worth of Chinese products. This list includes all textiles, all travel goods, all hats, and select apparel, accessories, and machinery used in domestic manufacturing. While originally identified for a 10% tariff, the administration is considering increasing the rate to 25%.

During its testimony, the AAFA reiterated its strong opposition to any effort to add wearing apparel, home textiles or footwear in Chapters 61-64.

“As an industry, we already pay 51% of all of America’s tariff receipts, even though we account for only 6% of all items that are imported,” the association explained. “We are heavily taxed, and we cannot afford further costs that would be arbitrarily imposed on our industry and on the American consumer.”

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Further, it emphasises its opposition to any additional tariffs on certain textiles, travel goods, hats, accessories, and related product categories.

The AAFA said they would be a hidden tax on US consumers, especially on the many consumer products that are included, harm the US manufacturing base, tax US global value chains and the American workers they employ, and trigger continued retaliation by China, further eroding US manufacturing opportunities.

“We are truly pleased to see that the Administration has started a dialogue with China. But let’s make sure this dialogue helps, and does not come at the expense of US workers, US companies, US consumers, and US communities,” the AAFA concluded.

The AAFA is among a number of industry associations set to testify this week. On Monday, the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) reiterated its call for finished textile and apparel products to be included on the list of proposed Section 301 tariffs.

The organisation wants the retaliatory list to feature finished apparel that tracks with product being sourced from US free trade agreement (FTA) partners, textile-based home furnishings, and advanced technical textile products.