Fashion Intel & Analysis

This week, Tariffs Hurt the Heartland released new data as part of their monthly Tariff Tracker and found American consumers and businesses have paid an additional $42 billion since the trade war began in February 2018 through October 2019. According to the group, in the month of October alone, Americans paid $7.2 billion in tariffs, more than any amount in U.S. history. That is one billion dollars higher than in October 2018. The data also demonstrates the impact of retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports. Chinese tariffs on American exports totaled $12 billion since the start of the trade war and topped $1.3 billion in October alone as China further raised tariffs in retaliation for U.S. List 4A tariffs. 

The new data comes just days before a new round of tariffs are scheduled to kick in on December 15, this time including all consumer goods imported from China. New data from Bloomberg Economics has found December tariffs would have more costs than benefits for the U.S. According to Bloomberg, “For the first tranche a mere 7% of the total came from China, allowing imports to be sourced from elsewhere and the disruption to the U.S. economy to be contained. For the final tranche, the share of Chinese goods is a whopping 86% and fallout would be elevated.”

We want to share some additional information about USMCA since our update this morning. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and Mexican Under Secretary for North America Jesús Seade signed the amended agreement in Mexico today. House Ways & Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) has released a fact sheet outlining the changes made to the deal’s language in enforcement, labor, environment, and access to affordable medicines. Democrats are saying a vote on the USMCA could come as soon as next week, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said today that the Senate will not vote on the deal before the end of the year, adding a vote was unlikely to happen until after an expected impeachment trial for Trump. 

The Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) and the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation hosted an event today, Forced Labor in the Uyghur Region: U.S. Policy Responses, to discuss the use of forced labor in the Uyghur region and actions the U.S. government can take to help the crisis. 

Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback and Peter Mattis, Deputy Staff Director at Congressional-Executive Commission on China, on behalf of Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), joined the event to give remarks on the human rights crisis in Xinjiang. Brownback called on the U.S. government and the world to confront China over its internment of over 1.5 million Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region. In addition to continuing to call on the Chinese government to stop all forms of forced labor, Brownback said the U.S. should sanction Chinese officials until the issue is resolved. Presenting a statement on behalf of Rubio, Mattis said the U.S. and allies must work together to hold the Chinese government accountable. He also encouraged Congress to act quickly to pass the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act. 

Nury Turkel, Chair of the Board for UHRP, offered five key recommendations that the U.S. government should take to help stop forced labor in Xinjiang: 

1) Congress should act urgently to pass the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, putting in place a legislative mandate for vigorous U.S. government action to respond to the Uyghur crisis. The UIGHUR Act of 2019, a revamped version of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act passed by the Senate in September, was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this month. UHRP encourages the two champers to reconcile these bills as quickly as possible so that the U.S. policy response to the crisis can be enacted into law. 

2) U.S. Customs and Board Protection (CBP) must ensure strict enforcement of U.S. laws and take action to keep goods made with forced labor out of the U.S. If existing authorities are insufficient to issue Withhold Release Orders (WROs), Congress must act to shift the burden of proof to companies that wish to import products sourced in Xinjiang or produced with Xinjiang-sourced cotton.

3) The World Bank must end subsidies in the Uyghur region until Beijing stops oppressing Uyghurs. 

4) The State Department and Department of Education should conduct a thorough review of all educational and cultural exchanges with the People’s Republic of China. There should be no government funding of any programs involving the Chinese Ministry of Education as long as the mass internment and unfair trials of intellectuals continue, and should not resume until all educators and students are released and receive reparations.

5) Governments should jointly coordinate global sanctions. 

The Trump Administration today imposed sanctions against 18 individuals suspected of human rights violations in six countries. The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s announcement sanctioned individuals from Burma, Pakistan, Libya, Slovakia, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and South Sudan. The action blocks all property and interests in property within the U.S. jurisdiction that are owned by those individuals sanctioned. “The United States will not tolerate torture, kidnapping, sexual violence, murder, or brutality against innocent civilians,” said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “America is the world leader in combatting human rights abuse and we will hold perpetrators and enablers accountable wherever they operate.”

While the Trump Administration is taking some action to protect human rights, they’ve also received backlash today for failure to support a United Nations Security Council meeting on North Korea’s human rights abuses. "The American action appeared aimed at muting international criticism of Pyongyang’s human rights record in the hope of preserving a tenuous diplomatic opening between President Trump and Kim Jong-un," the New York Times reported today. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) announced this morning that Democrats and the Trump Administration have reached an agreement on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Though the new text is not yet available, Pelosi said the deal incorporates a series of changes related to enforcement of labor and environmental standards.  The AFL-CIO also publicly endorsed the revised agreement.  Trade officials from the U.S., Mexico and Canada are expected to sign the new deal today in Mexico City. USMCA will need to go before both the House and the Senate for a vote. USFIA will share more details when they are available and will be hosting an upcoming webinar for a USMCA update.