NAFEM testifies again on Capitol Hill to encourage additional tariff exclusions

On August 20, NAFEM again testified before the Section 301 Committee, chaired by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). In its testimony and written comments NAFEM submitted, Vice President, Regulatory and Technical Affairs Charlie Souhrada conveyed that items included on List 3 have the potential to negatively impact NAFEM members by targeting material inputs, tools or equipment used on the shop floor to manufacture commercial foodservice equipment and supplies in the U.S. List 3 includes items that could be subject to 25 percent tariffs.

“While these List 3 products may be available from other countries, our members rely upon complex manufacturing supply chains that have taken years to develop and maintain,” Charlie explained to the Committee. “Requiring U.S. manufacturers to rebuild these supply chains drains vital resources and will take years to source around these tariffs. This adds a regulatory burden the administration promised to eliminate.”

In July, NAFEM also testified before the USTR and other member agencies on the Section 301 Committee, requesting exclusions for numerous items on List 2, which will be subject to a 25 percent tariff. The USTR recently issued the finalized second tranche or  List 2 items and the tariffs will be effective on August 23.  Previously, NAFEM was successful in securing the removal of 40 percent of member companies’ components and finished goods from List 1, which is now in effect and subject to a 25 percent tariff.  The Section 301 Committee only removed 5 of 284 items from List 2, one of which NAFEM successfully advocated to have removed from the 25 percent duties.

For companies wishing to request a product exclusion from List 1, such a request is due Oct. 9. Although deadlines for the List 2 product exclusion process have not yet been announced by the USTR, USTR will establish a process by which U.S. stakeholders may request that particular products classified within an HTSUS subheading listed in Tranche 2/ List 2 be excluded from these additional duties. The process will be comparable to the exclusion process established for List 1 product exclusions. USTR will publish a separate notice describing the product exclusion process, including the procedures for submitting exclusion requests, and an opportunity for interested persons to submit oppositions to a request.

It is important that elected officials hear from NAFEM members impacted by these tariffs. To help members easily share this information, NAFEM has created an Advocacy Toolkit of talking points and email messages for members to use in their outreach efforts.

Also, to support its advocacy efforts, NAFEM is collecting information on how the tariffs are impacting member companies. For details, see the next article.