Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) is calling for headwear products used to manufacture hats in the United States to be removed from the Administration’s proposed list of goods slated to be hit with a 25% tariff. Higgins, a member of the House of Representatives Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade, raised objections to the proposal in a letter and remarks on the House Floor.
In a letter to United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Higgins writes, “I appreciate your commitment to creating a fair and balanced trade relationship with China by pursuing actions that pressure the Government of China to address their use of unfair policies, such as forced technology transfer, that put American businesses at a disadvantage. While I applaud the intent behind the efforts of the Section 301 actions, the inclusion of headwear on the proposed $200 billion list has a direct negative impact in my district. New Era Cap Co. Inc. (New Era Cap) has grown to be the largest dedicated headwear company in the United States….As a U.S. based headwear manufacturer, the proposed 25% ad valorem tariff will diminish their ability to compete, jeopardize the growth of the company and hinder continued investment in my district.”
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Higgins also spoke about the harmful impact of the proposed tariff on the House Floor:
“Mr. Speaker: The White House proposed list of new tariffs includes: headwear, hats and headgear. If the 25% tariff on these products were imposed, New Era Cap, the largest headwear company in the United States, and based in my district, would be hurt.
“Based in Buffalo, New Era employs 800 people in 19 states. New Era supplies official headwear for the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, and Major League Baseball.
“Mr. President, you can’t tariff your way to economic growth.
“A tariff is a tax levied by a government on imported goods by placing taxes on foreign component parts. These products become more expensive for American consumers.
“The imposition of these tariffs are a race to the bottom and will result in higher product cost for all Americans.”
Congressman Higgins has been critical of the Administration’s haphazard tariff policies: speaking out about proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum, leading a letter signed by 171 members requesting a renegotiated agreement on softwood lumber which is used in the home building industry, and winning an argument made before the International Trade Commission opposing tariffs on Canadian newsprint.