Spanberger, Schrier Lead Effort Pressing Biden Administration to Ease Tariffs on Key Trucking & Shipping Parts, Lower Costs for Consumers

In a Letter Sent to President Biden, the Lawmakers Called on the Administration to Ease Sec. 301 Tariffs on Goods Critical for Supply Chain Logistics Here in America

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) and Kim Schrier, M.D. (D-WA-08) are leading an effort pressing the Biden Administration to help lower costs for U.S. consumers and ease tariffs on goods that are crucial to American supply chain logistics — including certain truck and train parts.

U.S. companies that rely on supply chain-related goods — including shipping containers and chassis — are facing unprecedented delays and shortages, which directly impacts the cost of goods for consumers in Virginia, Washington, and across the country. A recent report found that one major U.S. equipment provider is waiting nearly three times as long for truckers to return chassis as it did prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter first reported by Politico, Spanberger, Schrier, and their colleagues urged President Biden to ease U.S. tariffs on goods that impact shipping and transportation costs here in America. Specifically, they pointed to Sec. 301 tariffs as contributing to supply chain challenges for American businesses and driving up costs for American consumers. To help alleviate these issues, the lawmakers called on the Biden Administration to ease these tariffs, strengthen imports of these products, and focus on developing increased domestic production capacity for goods critical to the trucking and shipping industries.

“Shortages of shipping containers and chassis are among the challenges contributing to rising shipping and transportation costs. Several ports and railyards across the country have reported chassis shortages, which delay containers from being mounted on trucks then transported to the shipper and receiver,” said Spanberger, Schrier, and their colleagues. “The importance of chassis in supply chain logistics cannot be overstated. While the chassis shortage is a multifaceted challenge, and there are multiple tariffs on chassis, Sec. 301 tariffs are one contributor to the more than 200 percent tariff imposed on this crucial supply chain good. Other products that are critical to shipping logistics, such as various train and truck parts, are also impacted by Sec. 301 tariffs, exacerbating shortages and driving up shipping costs.”

They continued, “While we must continue investing in strengthening global supply chains and domestic manufacturing, we know these investments will take time and the supply chain crisis calls for an all-of-government approach to immediately reduce costs for American consumers and businesses. We appreciate your administration has been actively reviewing current Section 301 tariffs, particularly those at that are significantly impacting U.S. businesses.”

The letter was also signed by U.S. Representatives Marilyn Strickland (D-WA-10), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA-06), Susan Wild (D-PA-07), and Scott Peters (D-CA-52).

Click here to read the letter, and the full letter text is below.

Dear President Biden,

Thank you for your work to advance the United States’ position as a leader in global trade. As part of your efforts to combat inflation and alleviate supply chain challenges, we write to urge you to ease tariffs, facilitate imports, and bolster domestic production for goods that are crucial to supply chain logistics that have an outsized impact on shipping and transportation costs for consumer goods.

Members of Congress of both parties have advocated for your administration to expand the Sec. 301 tariff exclusions process to lower prices for consumers and support American businesses across several industries.

We appreciate your action reinstituting tariff exclusions for 352 categories of products and reiterate our request to expand the Sec. 301 tariff exclusions process to support American workers, businesses, and consumers.

Ongoing supply chain disruptions, rising shipping costs, and longer lead times have impacted all Americans through higher prices and shortages of critical products. From the grocery store to the gas pump, Americans are struggling due to inflation. We are encouraged by the work of your Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force to convene business, transportation, and shipping leaders to identify where the federal government can better support strong and resilient supply chains and appreciate the U.S. Trade Representative role and perspective on the task force.

Shortages of shipping containers and chassis are among the challenges contributing to rising shipping and transportation costs. Several ports and railyards across the country have reported chassis shortages, which delay containers from being mounted on trucks then transported to the shipper and receiver. The importance of chassis in supply chain logistics cannot be overstated. While the chassis shortage is a multifaceted challenge, and there are multiple tariffs on chassis, Sec. 301 tariffs are one contributor to the more than 200 percent tariff imposed on this crucial supply chain good. Other products that are critical to shipping logistics, such as various train and truck parts, are also impacted by Sec. 301 tariffs, exacerbating shortages and driving up shipping costs.

While we must continue investing in strengthening global supply chains and domestic manufacturing, we know these investments will take time and the supply chain crisis calls for an all-of-government approach to immediately reduce costs for American consumers and businesses. We appreciate your administration has been actively reviewing current Section 301 tariffs, particularly those at that are significantly impacting U.S. businesses. As your administration continues this review process, we urge you to:

  • Provide a timely update on the administration’s consideration to expand the Sec. 301 exclusion process.
  • Work with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and U.S. Department of Commerce to analyze and report to Congress on supply chain logistics equipment or goods with high tariffs that businesses are seeing shortages of or are paying significantly more for than previously.
  • Ease tariffs, facilitate imports and incentivize increased domestic production goods that are crucial to supply chain logistics, such as truck and train parts, including chassis, in full accordance with US trade laws.

We remain strongly committed to investing in American domestic manufacturing, reshoring supply chains that have been shipped overseas, and ensuring critical products are made domestically. In the short term, we believe the actions outlined in this letter will bring down prices for consumers and businesses. Thank you for your attention to this important issue.

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