New Tariffs on U.S. Travel Goods Imports from Vietnam in the Offing?

TGA is hearing rumors that possible punitive tariffs on U.S. imports from Vietnam are being discussed by the Biden administration under the U.S. government’s ongoing Section 301 investigations on Vietnam’s timber and currency. It is unclear under which investigation tariffs are being considered, or whether, as the U.S. government did recently with the digital services tax (DST) dispute, the U.S. government would propose and then immediately suspend tariffs as a negotiating tactic. This would be a different approach than the January 15, 2021 Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announcement or the Treasury Department’s April 16, 2021 report that found no currency manipulation by Vietnam investigations. AAFA testified at USTR public hearings held on December 28, 2020 and December 29, 2020 strongly opposing punitive tariffs on Vietnam. There were concerns that former President Trump would impose punitive tariffs on U.S. imports from Vietnam (as high as 25%) before he left office on January 20, 2021. Vietnam is the #2 supplier of travel goods to the U.S. market. In 2020, U.S. travel goods imports from Vietnam increased 12.1%, with Vietnam supplying 19.6% of all U.S. travel goods imports during 2020.