A new round of tariffs recently proposed by the Trump Administration to crack down on Chinese intellectual property theft could inadvertently cause significant financial harm to Hussey Seating Company, a family-owned business in North Berwick that manufactures bleachers and auditorium seating for distribution across the globe.
On behalf of the company and the 300 people it employs, U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King and Representatives Chellie Pingree and Bruce Poliquin wrote to the U.S.’s top trade negotiator, urging him not to include three particular product categories in the latest round of tariffs against Chinese imports.
“Businesses in Maine, like Hussey Seating, are already suffering at the expense of previous tariffs imposed by the Administration…,” Senators Collins and King and Representatives Pingree and Poliquin wrote in their letter to U.S. Trade Ambassador Robert Lighthizer. “[Hussey] has already seen its prices for domestically sourced steel, aluminum, and other parts dramatically increase because of earlier Section 232 trade actions by the Department of Commerce.”
“Further measures like this proposed Section 301 action will hurt Hussey’s ability to compete because the custom molds and tools they use to make their products exist only in China. To relocate or replicate these products will cause Hussey to incur higher costs as it locks in half of its contracts well before beginning new projects. Subjecting key products to new tariffs will disrupt its supply chain and cause irreparable harm to its long-term standing in its industry,” continued the Maine delegation. “Due to the disproportionate economic harm that imposing duties on these products would cause Hussey Seating, we strongly urge you to remove… [these] tariff subheadings…”
Specifically, the Maine delegation urged the Administration to remove the following tariff subheadings from the Annex:
9401.71.0031 Seats: Upholstered: Other
9401.79.0050 Seats: Other: Other
9401.90.5081 Seats: Parts: Other
These proposed import taxes are part of a new $200 billion tranche of tariffs aimed at China. Hussey Seating has already experienced substantial price increases for domestically sourced steel as a result of the Department of Commerce’s earlier Section 232 tariffs on global steel imports.
The Maine delegation is continuing to work to help other Maine industries, such as the lobster industry, mitigate the impact of recent trade actions.