US greeting card publishers manufacturing in China as well as those who import cards from the UK breathed a high sigh of relief on Sunday (December 13) when the announcement was made by the Office of the US Trade Representatives that the 15% tariffs that were to be imposed on Chinese-produced greeting cards arriving into the US on December 15 have been “suspended indefinitely”.
“This is very good news indeed,” exclaimed George White, president of the US GCA and general manager of The CM Paula Company, which includes 3D card company Up With Paper, that relies on Chinese manufacturing. George, together with Hallmark’s federal affairs manager Sarah Moe Meyers put up a valiant fight against the inclusion of greeting cards on the tariff list. Their campaigning has involved both individually testifying in person at the Office of the US Trade Representatives backed up by hard-hitting written statements, in an effort to protect, not just the American greeting card market but those publishers who also export to the States.
Back in the summer George and Sarah were granted a five minute slot at a hearing to make the case why greeting cards should not be subject to such tariffs, stressing the negative impact they would have on such a creative industry, retailers, consumers as well as damaging the US postal service.
Giving reasons why the tariffs on cards (and other products with an annual aggregate trade value of approximately $300 billion) Joseph Barloon, of the general counsel office of the US Trade Representative confirmed that as a result of the “progress in the negotiations with China”, President Donald Trump has determined that the action to impose further tariffs (that had been outlined on August 20) has been deemed “no longer appropriate” and such action has been suspended indefinitely.
“The uncertainty was crippling. It was so concerning that the greeting card industry was potentially to be caught up in the political unrest between the US and China,” George told PG Buzz. “If the tariffs had come into effect, we at the GCA were braced to help our members seek company specific exclusions and were lined to do webinars for our members to instruct them in what to do. Thankfully that will no longer be necessary!”
Top: US president Donald Trump has cancelled the threatened tariffs being imposed on greeting cards manufactured from China.