New Coalition Starts Push Against Efforts to Raise Import Taxes

Americans for Affordable Products, a coalition that includes 140 major businesses and trade groups, launched this week in response to proposals by Republicans to boost import taxes. The coalition argues that such a tax will raise prices on consumers while discouraging innovation.

A congressional plan to increase taxes on imported products is raising major concerns in the business world, and a new coalition is speaking up on the issue.

Americans for Affordable Products, a coalition announced Wednesday, plans to launch a national campaign to stop the border adjustment tax, a proposal from House Republicans that the coalition’s more than 140 members argue will discourage businesses from selling products in the United States. The coalition says the tax could increase the prices of products by as much as 20 percent—an annual cost of $1,700 per household.

The proposal, which proponents say could raise $1.2 trillion in federal revenues over the next decade, has proved controversial with the business world.

As Bloomberg notes, some businesses support the effort because it encourages more domestic production of goods—which Republicans hope to bolster by cutting the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent, according to The New York Times. Quartz describes the border tax as a counterbalance to pay for the corporate tax cuts, rather than a penalty on imports.

But critics argue that the move would be disruptive and that consumer products that Americans use daily, especially technology and apparel, come from all over the world.

“You’re a consumer: Are you ready to pay 20 to 25 percent more for everything you buy? Because almost everything you buy is imported,” Steve Lamar, executive vice president of the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), told Bloomberg.

The concern is especially felt in the retail sector, which has been limited in its ability to raise prices in recent years.

“There’s a rush to get this done in Congress. We want to make sure our voices are heard,” National Retail Federation lobbyist David French told the Times. NRF is a leading member of the coalition.

In addition to NRF and AAFA, the coalition includes a wide range of national, regional, and state organizations—including the National Grocers Association, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, the National Truck Stop Operators, the Promotional Products Association International, and the Consumer Technology Association— along with individual retailers such as Best Buy and Walmart.

The House GOP plan is separate from a proposal by President Donald Trump, who has in the past proposed a 35 percent tax on imports. Last week he suggested a 20 percent tax on imports from Mexico that he said would help pay for a border wall.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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