Epson, HP Inc. Seek Tariff Exemptions (Updated)

According to Japan Today, Epson America said it will request that the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to remove projectors, large-format printers, receipt printers, and scanners from a list of Chinese imports that could be subject to a 25-percent tariff if the United States doesn’t work out a trade deal with China. Epson says the tariffs would have a “detrimental impact on U.S. consumers and businesses.”

The company recently issued the following statement: “While Epson supports the initiatives of the administration and agrees with the need to address unfair trade policies and inadequate protection of intellectual property rights, imposing additional tariffs on these products would not be effective in obtaining the elimination of China’s acts, policies and practices.

“Instead, the tariffs will only impose additional burdens on U.S. business and consumers.”

Epson is among more than 300 companies that will testify at the hearing, which will be held from Monday to Friday, and also on June 24 and 25 at the U.S. International Trade Commission. HP Inc. will also be speaking out against the tariffs at the hearings, and will be represented by Andy Binder.

In its submission, Epson told the USTR that it was already reviewing its production of products affected by the USTR’s Section 301 report on tariffs.

“Epson requests that USTR remove from the potential list of products subject to additional duties projectors, large format printers, receipt printers, and scanners, as additional duties on these products would have a detrimental impact on U.S. consumers and businesses,” said Kendra Jones. Epson America’s vice president of Legal Affairs and general counsel.

“Epson supplies these products to businesses, households, and educational and religious facilities. In particular. small and medium sized companies rely on the high quality, speed, and cost-efficiency of Epson’s products to grow their revenue and to reach a wider audience. School districts rely on Epson’s multi-media equipment such as projectors as an effective and cost-efficient way to keep students engaged in the classroom. These are the entities that are most vulnerable to the changes in supply structure and prices that will likely occur if additional duties are implemented.

“In many cases, there is simply no viable alternative to Chinese imports of these products. Even in instances where alternative sources can be found, Epson’s vertically integrated structure. through which it owns its overseas manufacturing facilities instead of outsourcing, makes it difficult to shift production to another country. Despite these difficulties, Epson has been making efforts to move some of its production outside of China,” according to the submission signed by Epson America Inc.’s Kendra Jones and COO Andrea Zoeckler.

An Epson spokesperson also said: “Like many other companies, Epson has been exploring means of minimising the impact of Section 301 tariffs. However, Epson is predominantly vertically integrated, owning its production facilities abroad rather than contracting with third-party manufacturers. Therefore, it requires more investment and coordination for Epson to relocate production facilities and employees than its competitors that contract with interchangeable third-party manufacturers.”

On May 10, the United States raised U.S. tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25 percent from 10 percent. It’s still uncertain if the United States will implement a 25-percent tariff on some additional $300 billion of Chinese imports.

The U.S. administration says the tariffs are designed to fight intellectual property and technology theft by Chinese companies.

Back in January, Fujifilm North America reported that it had received tariff tax exclusions on its aluminum offset-printing plates, while Eastman Kodak has also applied for tariff exemptions. Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and Dell have also sought to have their products excluded from tariffs.

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