Grand Rapids, Mich. – BIFMA, representing 165 business and institutional furniture manufacturers, and material/component part suppliers across the United States, submitted comments to the Office of United States Trade Representative (USTR) this morning in opposition to the Administration’s proposed 25% tariff on China sourced furniture and components/parts.
All comments, now over 1,300 that have been filed, are available for review at the USTR website: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=USTR-2018-0026
Furniture manufacturers are concerned and project that an increased cost in materials will have a negative impact on market demand, likely leading to a net job loss in this sector. Commercial furniture manufacturing in the United States is conducted in 48 states, driving an economic impact of nearly 15 billion dollars annually and spurring significant annual exports of 725 million dollars.
Foreign competitors who source component parts from China would not see price increases from tariffs like U.S. manufacturers would. Thus, when they export finished goods to the U.S., their cost basis would be more competitive than domestic U.S. manufacturers. This, coupled with the strong U.S. dollar, would put domestic manufacturers in a very disadvantageous position in the U.S. market.
More than 62,000 U.S. workers are involved in the manufacturing of commercial furniture and over 1,200 commercial furniture establishments (with nearly $3 billion in payroll annually) serve both the domestic and international demand for the industry’s products. Thousands of U.S. based jobs involved in producing commercial furniture exported to other countries will be at risk.
U.S. manufacturers must be competitive in both the U.S. marketplace and international marketplace to achieve long term success. BIFMA and its members encourage the Administration to reconsider an imposition of tariffs. Taxing goods and materials coming into the United States carries a high probability of unintended consequences in today’s globally interconnected manufacturing process.