Industry Leader testifies at US Trade Representative hearing in Washington

 Rob Cohen

Rob Cohen

The economic impact of proposed tariffs on the cost of goods produced in China is top of mind for many suppliers and members of the Experiential Designers and Producers Association. Fortunately, one of our members, Rob Cohen of Display Supply & Lighting, Inc, decided to take action by participating in a USTR hearing on August 24th in Washington D.C.

The tariffs, which will affect $200 billion worth of imported products, are a response to Chinese trade practices that our current administration perceives to be damaging to American technology and intellectual property.

Rob Cohen disagrees, and stated clearly in his recent testimony that “The products being made in China on behalf of his companies and imported by them are NOT the result of practices of the Government of China related to technology transfer, intellectual property and innovation.”

Providing supply and lighting products to the face-to-face marketing industry for over 38 years DS&L has positioned itself as a subject matter expert. Along with hundreds of other companies and trade organizations, Rob traveled to D.C. in order to testify against the proposed duty, and while his hopes for success are tempered, he believes that his actions are simply the right thing to do.

The following government agencies were in attendance for the hearings;
• Representatives from US Trade
• Department of Homeland Security
• Department of Treasury
• Department of State
• Department of Commerce
• Department of Labor
• USDA
• Small Business Administration


Rob shared some highlights from the day;

“Prior to accepting any testimony, the USTR advised those present that the decision had been made to increase the proposed duty from 10% on the cost of goods to 25% with respect to the 6000+ harmonized codes listed on list 3. A similar duty has already been imposed on the harmonized codes listed on Lists 1 and 2.”

The above news represents a 150% increase in duty’s on the cost of a broad list of imported goods.

Rob continued, “I felt that the testimony provided a strong message to the committee on how the proposed duty is truly a tax on American companies, their customers, and ultimately consumers and will have little if any impact on the Chinese.”

He went on to say, “This will put revenue for American companies at risk, jobs of hardworking Americans at risk and potentially the existence many American companies at risk.  Additionally, this will could have a significant impact on the face to face marketing industry.”

As anticipated on September 18, 2019, the USTR announced the imposition of a new ad valorem duty on over 5700 HTS codes.  Effective September 24, 2018 all goods covered by these codes will be subject to an additional 10% ad valorem duty and as of January 1, 2019 this duty is scheduled to increase to 25%.

More Info: Office of the United States Trade Representative Press Release on Tariffs