US Toy Association confronts Trump’s “dark tariff cloud”

US trade body strengthens measures to combat proposed 25 per cent levy on Chinese imports that threatens toy and retail communities

Written by Rhys Thomas

Posted 15.05.2019 | Business

US Toy Association confronts Trump’s “dark tariff cloud” thumbnail

The US Toy Association is spearheading an industry-wide revolt against President Trump’s most recently proposed China tariffs, which would for the first time directly impact toys.

Tariffs of 25 per cent are already levied against around $200 billion worth of the goods shipped into the States from the far east, and under new plans drawn up by Trump, the remaining $300bn Chinese imports would carry the same duty.

Embarking on an aggressive opposition campaign, the Toy Association has joined up with multi-industry coalition Americans for Free Trade to tackle the tariff proposal, which president and CEO Steve Pasierb says hangs like a “dark tariff cloud threatening the toy and retail communities”.

"We have not relented in our fight against the threat of tariffs and will continue to push back aggressively on these damaging tactics that amount to nothing more than a tax on American families and their children and will lead to projected losses of tens of thousands of US jobs,” says Steve, who has been an emphatic detractor of the trade tariffs since the US-China trade war boiled over last summer.

“To be clear, China is not paying these tariffs; rather, American families and U.S. companies are, through higher consumer prices and decreased profits. We support fair and free trade that protects American intellectual property, our workers and businesses,” he says. “This all-out trade war is the wrong approach.”

Isaac Larian, the outspoken CEO of MGA Entertainment, has promoted the campaign on Linkedin, writing: FIGHT BACK please. Let’s not sit and watch what happens next. All of our industry and livelihood is at stakes. Let’s hashtag#ACTNOW please.” [sic] 

Jeremey Padawer, Co-president and partner at Wicked Cool Toys, meanwhile tapped into pop culture to rally the troops, likening the impending tariffs to Game of Thrones’ apocalyptic White Walkers – a destructive force that the realm’s squabbling factions must band together to defeat. 

Acting on behalf of US toy firms, the Toy Association has taken to Capitol Hill to lead industry advocacy efforts and raise awareness of the damaging impact to businesses and consumers should a duty be imposed. PR firm Hogan Lovells has been re-engaged to develop an aggressive media plan that will reinforce the toy community’s core messages on this front.

The trade body is also appealing to American businesses and the public with a grassroots campaign to contact local government officials. A pre-written letter to congressmen and senators is being shared online through social media.

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