Following a full-throated campaign by the mold making sector to keep 25-percent tariffs on Chinese-made injection molds, some manufacturers are now pushing the federal government in the opposite direction.
A few larger manufacturing companies, including power tool maker Stanley Black & Decker Inc. and powersports vehicle maker Polaris Inc., are telling President Biden he should rescind tariffs on molds first imposed in 2018 by President Trump.
The back-and-forth comes after dozens of mold making firms sent in comments in recent months to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai urging her to keep tariffs, arguing that they've helped protect jobs and investment in their sector.
Tai is in the middle of a legally mandated review of $50 billion worth of imports in the first round of 2018 China tariffs.
Some are arguing that the tariffs are, on balance, hurting U.S. manufacturing. Stanley Black & Decker and other major manufacturers told Tai that the mold tariffs are making their U.S. factories less competitive because they raise the price of manufacturing inputs.
"SBD is the only U.S. manufacturer that produces hand and power tools at scale in the United States," the company said. "However, the United States simply lacks the capacity to produce every part and component used as an input for U.S.-manufactured products.
"SBD and other U.S. manufacturers thus import lower-value inputs for complex products like power tools, which ensures that SBD can continue producing finished goods at scale in the United States," it said.
One smaller manufacturing company echoed that message in its formal filing to the USTR.