FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump takes questions during the coronavirus response daily briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 19, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
(Reuters) – The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump is debating if it should defer payments of duties on imported goods from around the world for three months, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing unnamed people familiar with the discussions.
Talks in recent days involving the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and other government agencies about suspending tariffs amid the coronavirus outbreak have prompted local U.S. industry associations to push back, according to Bloomberg bloom.bg/2WIIF3t.
“At a time of ﬁnancial hardship and unrest as a result of the coronavirus – CBP should not reintroduce unfairly traded goods to cause American workers further economic pain because of lobbying efforts of stateless companies,” Bloomberg quoted the Coalition for a Prosperous America group as saying in a letter to CBP acting commissioner Mark Morgan.
“This effort by CBP will only exacerbate the ﬁnancial situation of countless Americans.”
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency declined comment.
No comment was immediately available from the U.S. Trade Representative’s office.
Earlier this month, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the Trump administration was not considering broad relief from import tariffs on Chinese goods to ease economic pain from the coronavirus.
The U.S. economy has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Democratic and Republican lawmakers were trying on Tuesday to hammer out a deal on a $2 trillion stimulus package to limit the damage.
Trump last week invoked the Defense Production Act, which would allow the U.S. government to accelerate production of equipment needed to fight the contagion, although Trump has said he has not needed to use the law because many companies have offered to produce ventilators, sanitizers and other items.
Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru and David Lawder and Andrea Shalal in Washington; Editing by Himani Sarkar & Shri Navaratnam