BETHESDA, Md. — Americans for Free Trade, a coalition of hundreds of businesses and trade associations, is urging the Trump Administration to delay collecting import duties and fees for March through June in order to "free up billions of dollars of working capital for American companies."
In a letter to President Donald Trump, the coalition argues that capital made available by deferring such payments would allow U.S. manufacturers and importers facing urgent liquidity issues during the COVID-19 pandemic to pay suppliers, employees, service providers and other critical stakeholders.
This cash is especially important for companies that have had to close their doors because of stay-at-home orders, leaving them with little to no revenue to make ends meet, the coalition said, noting that the Trump Administration earlier suspended such fees for certain industries.
Among those supporting the measure are: Auto Care Association; 4 Wheel Parts; AutoZone Inc.; LKQ Corp.; Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association; and Specialty Equipment Market Association.
The coalition stresses that it's asking the administration to delay the duties, not suspend them. The duties will still be paid, just at a later date, the group said.
The coalition also would like to see the import duty delay extended to a full four months, covering March through June. The administration's earlier partial duty deferment covered just parts of March and April.
"Deferring these duties will help further ensure the success of your great American economic revival effort by giving companies the additional cash they need to stay open, preserve U.S. jobs and reopen their doors from a position of strength," the letter states.