U.S. businesses express concern over severe impact of Trump's China tariffs as hearing enters 3rd day

2019-06-20 03:09:38 GMT2019-06-20 11:09:38(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

WASHINGTON, June 19 (Xinhua) -- U.S. businesses on Wednesday told administration officials that the proposed new round of tariffs on Chinese goods will "severely impact U.S. merchants," as a week-long hearing process soliciting public comments entered the third day.

Alexander Koff of U.S. electronic payment device vendor Verifone said in his prepared written testimony that his company is "concerned that the proposed tariff increases will severely impact U.S. merchants, especially those that are small, medium and local."

According to Koff, Verifone's counsel, POS terminals have been excluded from previous rounds of tariff measures by the U.S. government. "These items should again be removed," he said during the testimony. "Keeping them on the list has no impact on China but it has a huge negative impact on U.S. businesses and consumers."

Citing statistics by the Washington-based Electronic Transactions Association, Koff said U.S. companies' market share in the electronic payment industry is already in decline, whereas that of the Asia Pacific region has seen an increase of 28.3 percent.

"U.S. sales declines will be readily absorbed elsewhere, particular in Asia," Koff said.

Founded in 1981 in Hawaii and now headquartered in California, Verifone now operates in more than 150 countries and employs nearly 6,000 people globally, according to data on the company's website.

Koff said the company hires more than 1,200 U.S. employees in states including California, Georgia, Florida and Illinois.

Koff is in the first of eight panels of witnesses who testified before the Section 301 Committee under the U.S. Trade Representative's office (USTR).

The proposed new tariffs of 25 percent on roughly 300 billion U.S. dollars' worth of Chinese imports are based on the so-called findings in the USTR's investigation of China under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, a one-sided tool for Washington to serve its own interests in dealing with trade disputes with other economies.

Twenty-five percent tariffs on some 250 billion dollars' worth of goods from China are currently in effect under a Section 301 tariff action, and have already backfired.

In response, China raised additional tariffs on a range of U.S. imports on June 1.

The hearings, held in the U.S. International Trade Commission Building, kicked off Monday and will last till June 25. Hundreds of witnesses representing a variety of industries are scheduled to make their case, requesting the removal of their products from the proposed tariff list.

Business representatives testifying before the committee by and large argued that the potential tariff action will inflict pains on domestic industries and consumers, and that companies whose products have been targeted simply cannot leave China in the short term due to the irreplaceable nature of the Chinese supply chains.