More than 2,500 U.S. companies are seeking tariff exemptions on about 31,000 products before the Trump administration's duties on Chinese imports increase again on Oct. 15, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.
The firms submitted exemption requests for the $200 billion in tariffs by midnight Monday, the deadline to file such requests, according to the Journal. The requests involve products subject to a 25 percent tariff, which will increase to 30 percent mid-month.
“We have not been able to move infant knitted cotton hat production to the U.S. due to capability, volume and cost impact,” one of 13 submissions from The Gap reads.
“It is important to protect the price point that our customer can afford, and we cannot pass any additional cost increase on to the customer without pricing ourselves out of the market,” the filing states.
Nearly a third of the requests are from a single company, Arrowhead Engineered Products, which imports Chinese replacement parts for cars, lawn-mowers and all-terrain vehicles, the Journal reports.
Several other companies also submitted hundreds of requests, including hardware firm Prime-Line Products, which asked for nearly 1,400 exemptions for wares including handles and other accoutrements for doors and windows.
Exemption requests must include a reason why products cannot be obtained elsewhere. For example, Nick Staub, CEO of Romaine Electric Corp., wrote that production of vehicle starters and alternators ““now is fully transitioned to China to where there’s no way that anybody could suddenly bring that manufacturing back here.”
“The amount of tooling involved, the amount of expenditures required, would be simply astronomical to bring back to the United States,” he added.
The U.S. Trade Representative has granted 61 of 439 requests on the latest round of tariffs so far, 10 of which went to Apple. The Trade Representative has also denied five Apple requests of 378 overall denials, according to the WSJ.
Overall, the trade office has denied 61 percent of more than 13,000 requests under the first two rounds of tariffs. It has granted 31 percent, with the rest still pending.
Economists increasingly fear that President Trump's ongoing trade war poses a danger to the economy. Trump has downplayed the risks, saying that China will bear the brunt of the costs and blaming the Federal Reserve for slowing down U.S. markets.