ISSAlert June 5, 2019


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Join ISSA in strongly urging the U.S. federal government to remove the tariffs on cleaning related products and materials, ending the trade war, and refrain from imposing new tariffs in the future.

Components of mops and brooms, vacuum cleaners, sanitary paper products, manufacturing equipment, cleaning product formulations, raw materials, and much more that are imported from China are being subjected to a 25% tariff as of May 10. Additionally, U.S. President Donald Trump recently announced he would impose a 5% tariff on Mexican imports in the coming weeks unless actions were taken by Mexico to address immigration-related issues.

ISSA is deeply concerned about the negative impacts the tariffs are having on the cleaning industry, employees, and consumers in both countries today. These tariffs are not just affecting manufacturers of cleaning products but rather the entire supply chain of the cleaning industry. According to research by the New York Federal Reserve Bank, the combined cost to consumers in the United States from the China tariffs is estimated at US$106 billion per year or $831 per consumer.

It is no surprise 52% of respondents to a recent survey of ISSA’s membership wanted ISSA to be active opposing tariffs because they are negatively affecting the cleaning industry. This sentiment is not just limited to manufacturers, as a majority of cleaning service providers and distributors also agreed with that sentiment. The survey was conducted prior to the most recent round of tariffs, which hit even more cleaning related components, ingredients, and products.

In its previous comments submitted to the U.S. Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) in August of 2018, Bill Balek, ISSA general counsel, wrote, “Manufacturers and distributors that sell their products to institutional and commercial customers often are contractually locked into a price and are not able to raise prices to cover tariffs that exceed their margins. Consequently, these companies must look at cost-cutting measures, which usually translates into layoffs and reduced hiring, along with decreased capital investment.”

This has been the experience of many ISSA members. One member specifically reported having to lay off 17% of their workforce and experiencing a 12% drop in net profit as a direct result of the tariffs.

ISSA encourages the administration to address the unfair trade practices of China by pursuing strategic trade negotiations that generate enforceable trade agreements that protect the legitimate business interests of U.S. businesses.

As part of ISSA’s expanded advocacy efforts being launched this year we are directly engaging on the tariff issue with our lobbying firm DCLRS, by joining the Americans for Free Trade coalition, submitting comments to the USTR, and by engaging with our 9,300 members on this important issue.

Here are three ways you can make your voice heard on tariffs:

  • Submit comments by June 17 on the fourth round of tariffs. Go to regulations.gov search “USTR-2019-0004” and click on “comment now.”
  • Contact your elected officials urging them to stand up against tariffs and letting them know how higher tariffs are affecting you or your business. The ISSA Action Center makes this easy!
  • Engage your customers and employees. It is important to engaging others about how these tariffs are impacting the business. Share this information and encourage others to submit comments and/or contact their elected official.

Timeline according to USTR:

  • June 10: Due date for filing requests to appear and a summary of expected testimony at the public hearing.
  • June 17: Due date for submission of written comments.
  • June 17: The Section 301 Committee will convene a public hearing in the main hearing room of the U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436, that begins at 9:30 a.m.
  • Seven days after the last day of the public hearing: Due date for submission of post-hearing rebuttal comments.

It is unclear when USTR will publish the final list of products and the date the implementation tariff will go into effect. ISSA will continue to monitor and weigh in on tariffs and other trade issues affecting our members. For additional information, or questions regarding tariffs, other policy issues, or ISSA’s advocacy efforts, please contact ISSA Director of Government Affairs John Nothdurft at Johnn@issa.com.