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Shipping containers in China. Photo: VCG via Getty Images

Hundreds of American businesses have testified in hearings hosted by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, hoping to shed light on the damaging effect tariffs on Chinese goods will have on the average American consumer.

The big picture: From "cradles to coffins," the 25% tariffs proposed by the Trump administration on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods will raise prices on a wide range of everyday items. And, many industry representatives argued, they will do little to curb China's unfair trade practices.

The backdrop: The hearings were similar to those hosted by the USTR when it was considering tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods, which Trump ultimately chose to implement. But this latest round would affect a far greater cross section of consumer goods.

  • 23% of the U.S. imports that would be subject to this round of tariffs are consumer goods, according to the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  • Among the hardest-hit would be furniture ($11 billion), chair seats ($10 billion), computers ($8 billion), lamps and lighting parts ($7 billion), and cooking appliances ($3.8 billion).

What they're saying: The six days of hearings consisted mainly of representatives from a range of industries attempting to explain the logic-defying nature of the proposed tariffs, while committee members questioned them on their ability to source products from countries besides China, per World Trade Online.

  • American Chemistry Council: "Supply chains are not plug-and-play — they cannot easily be reconfigured to meet the whims of U.S. trade policy. Forcing companies to reconfigure their supply chains would threaten the viability of their businesses."
  • American Bridal Prom Industry Association: “China's dominance as an apparel maker means it will be virtually impossible to avoid importing Chinese made goods entirely...If a 25 percent or greater tariff were to be imposed in the future, the supplier, importer and direct consumer would likely share the higher cost, as retailers would try to pass along most or all the price increase.”
  • Graco Children's Products Inc: "We're very concerned that imposing these tariffs will force many families to make very difficult trade-offs between over-extending their budget or ensuring the safety of their children."
  • Quality Bicycle Products Inc.: "If you want to see the latest in bicycle technology, you can go to the Smithsonian Museum, the Air and Space Museum, and see a 1903 Wright Brothers bicycle that is in essence what is being produced in China today. The same technology. There aren’t any semiconductor chips in a bicycle imported from China.”

The bottom line: Per the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Trump administration has attempted to assure Americans that it will resolve trade frictions with China without excessive collateral damage, but it lacks a coherent strategy for those assurances to be of any real comfort.

Go deeper

Updated 4 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

  1. Health: CDC expects new COVID surge starting this month — Coronavirus cases hit a seven-month low
  2. Politics: Federal judge overturns CDC's eviction moratorium — Why Biden's latest vaccine goal is his hardest yet.
  3. Vaccines: Moderna says its COVID booster shot shows promise against variants — U.S. will support waiving vaccine patents — Education secretary: All schools expected to be fully in-person this fall
  4. Economy: U.S. may have added more than 2 million jobs in April — A surge in youth unemployment.
  5. World: True COVID-19 death toll is double the official numbers, study finds — Countries testing J&J vaccine doses after contamination at Baltimore plant — Germany opposes Biden's support for waiving vaccine patents
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Dave Lawler, author of World
14 mins ago - World

True COVID-19 death toll is double the official numbers, study finds

Expand chart
Data: IHME; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

There have been twice as many deaths from COVID-19 around the world as have been reported, according to the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), which analyzed excess mortality and other factors.

The big picture: The U.S. has undercounted by over 300,000 deaths, while the death tolls in India and Mexico — second and third on the list, respectively — are nearly three times the official numbers, according to the analysis.

Top Wall Street cop says report on meme stocks is coming

Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Wall Street's top regulator says a report examining meme stock mania will be coming "sometime this summer."

The big picture: It will "detail the range of activities" that came out of the January events," SEC chair Gary Gensler said Thursday at a third congressional hearing held to dissect the GameStop trading phenomenon.

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