Mike Ochs, director of government affairs, will testify today (Aug. 22) on behalf of the RV industry and the 44,000 people it employs at a United States Trade Representative (USTR) hearing regarding the impact of proposed 10% to 25% tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese products. These tariffs are a result of the 301 investigation into the acts, polices and practices of the Government of China related to technology transfer, intellectual property and innovation.
RVIA Industry News and Insights reported that Ochs will state that the proposal to include trailer tires, propane tanks and steel and aluminum wheels, as items subject to the Section 301 tariffs, will severely impact supply chains, artificially raise costs to produce an RV and could even negatively influence sales of RVs.
“These effects are not what USTR had in mind when it first put forward the Section 301 proposal. As USTR itself stated, remedies under this Act are supposed to eliminate the unfair trade practices of the Chinese government related to the forced transfer of U.S. technology and intellectual property,” said Ochs. “The proposal to place a tariff on tires, propane tanks and steel and aluminum wheels from China achieves neither of these goals, while negatively affecting a healthy U.S. manufacturing sector.”
There are also several other categories proposed for inclusion in this action that are worrisome to the RV industry, such as woods, plywoods and multidensity fiberboard (MDF); fabrics, carpet and bedding; refrigerators, appliances and accessories; portable toilets and accessories; and various raw metals.
Any adverse determinations in this matter will have unintended consequences that hurt the RV industry which relies on products that could be subject to potential tariff increases or other trade restrictions, according to RVIA. Additionally, such action will not only directly affect the RV industry but will also harm the suppliers who produce finished products that are used in completed vehicles.