GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.– The Business Institutional Furniture Manufacters Association, BIFMA, representing 165 business and institutional furniture manufacturers, and material/component part suppliers across the United States, submitted comments to the Office of United States Trade Representative (USTR) in opposition to the Administration’s proposed 25 percent tariff on China sourced furniture and components/parts.
Furniture manufacturers are concerned and project that an increased cost in materials will have a negative impact on market demand, likely leading to a net job loss in this sector. Commercial furniture manufacturing in the United States is conducted in 48 states, driving an economic impact of nearly 15 billion dollars annually and spurring significant annual exports of $725 million.
BIFMA says foreign competitors who source component parts from China would not see price increases from tariffs as U.S. manufacturers would. Thus, when they export finished goods to the U.S., their cost basis would be more competitive than domestic U.S. manufacturers. This, coupled with a strong U.S. dollar, would put domestic manufacturers in a very disadvantageous position in the U.S. market, BIFMA says.
All comments, now over 1,300 that have been filed, are available for review at the USTR website: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=USTR-2018-0026
BIFMA estimates that more than 62,000 U.S. workers are involved in the manufacturing of commercial furniture and over 1,200 commercial furniture establishments (with nearly $3 billion in payroll annually) serve both the domestic and international demand for the industry’s products. As a result, thousands of U.S.-based jobs involved in producing commercial furniture exported to other countries will be at risk from such tariffs.
U.S. manufacturers must be competitive in both the U.S. marketplace and international marketplace to achieve long term success. BIFMA and its members encourage the Administration to reconsider an imposition of tariffs. Taxing goods and materials coming into the United States carries a high probability of unintended consequences in today’s globally interconnected manufacturing process.
The Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association is the voice for the commercial furniture industry. BIFMA develops safety, performance, and sustainability standards that ensure product performance. BIFMA provides data and analytics that the industry uses to make key manufacturing decisions. The organization advocates for regulatory conditions that enhance value and foster innovation. BIFMA is the go-to resource providing tools commercial furniture manufactures need to ensure that products work. BIFMA adds to its leadership role with education and outreach initiatives that inform all stakeholders. This strong, uniquely equipped industry leader steps up with information, tools and insights that make us all smarter.
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