VTA joins legal battle over 3rd wave of Trump Tariffs against vaping
The Trump Administration is at it again, calling for a third wave of tariffs on Chinese imports that will include vaping components and other products. The previous two rounds have already resulted in a 10-25 percent tax increase, and many industry insiders predict that a third wave could possibly cripple the American vaping community indefinitely.
Luckily, the Vapor Technology Association (VTA) has been lobbying the Trump Administration from the very beginning, but thanks to the proposed third wave, VTA representatives are about to kick their legal efforts into high gear once again. But they can’t do it alone. This vaping advocacy organization needs your help.
On July 24, 2018, VTA Board President Brittani Cushman testified before the International Trade Commission (ITC) denouncing the now-implemented Trump Tariffs of 10-25 percent from the second wave. During her testimony, Ms. Cushman made the following claim in Politico.
"Vapor devices, which are used to aerosolize e-liquids, are manufactured almost exclusively in China. For that reason, the proposed tariff of 25 percent on these products would decimate this young and burgeoning U.S. industry."
Unbeknownst to Cushman - or any other vaping advocacy group at the time - the Trump Administration had already begun behind-the-scenes discussions regarding a third wave of tariffs while the second wave was still in the early proposal stages.
Immediately following the mid-June hearings, Ms. Cushman and other VTA officials followed up by submitting written objections to the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) in opposition to the Trump Tariffs on vaping products listed in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule 8543.70.99.
The Trump administration responded by removing only 5 out of the original 284 subheadings of products contained on the list. The remaining tariffs have now gone into effect as of August 23, 2018, resulting in a 10-25 percent import tax on all “finished” vaping devices and kits.
3rd Wave of Trump Tariffs will increase Trump Tariffs by an estimated, cumulative rate of 50%.
In legalese, a “wave” of tariffs is known as a “tranche.” The third tranche is not yet finalized, but if approved, it could result in an additional 25 percent increase on top of the already existing 10-25 percent from the second tranche. And just as with the second wave, the ITC once again began holding hearings just last week.
This time around, VTA Executive Director Tony Abboud was in attendance to hearings that lasted six days and included an estimated 375 witnesses. Sadly, VTA was one of only a handful of witnesses from within the vaping community.
This lack of representation from within the vaping community is startling, which may be a contributing factor to VTA’s recent newsletter published just today urging the vape shop owners, e-liquid and vaping manufacturers, and other industry leaders for their immediate assistance. The VTA newsletter includes the following Call-to-Action.
“VTA will be making the case for vapor products specifically and will be submitting a formal request on behalf of its members to the Trump Administration to exclude specific products from the tariff list. That request will include the targeted information necessary to secure an exclusion which, if granted, will bring significant relief to the industry. All we ask from our members is that if you want to be included, respond to our requests for information.”
In his testimony on August 20, Mr. Abboud presented an itemized list of five reasons why the third tranche of Trump Tariffs on vaping products should not be approved (the five reasons are highlighted in the VTA newsletter linked above). And just like before, the VTA plans to submit written objections that are much more highly detailed and written with an even greater sense of urgency.
However, the deadline is only a few days away. VTA has only until September 6, 2018 to compile the necessary statistics and write the legal documents for submission. And according to the recent VTA newsletter, “this endeavor will be time consuming, costly to VTA, and difficult.”
VTA needs the help of the vaping community to successfully stop this latest battle in the War on Vaping. Anyone interesting in providing insights, data, or assistance in this fight over Trump Tariffs is requested to respond via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Image courtesy of Shutterstock)