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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

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”

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