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JPMA Testifies in Call for Baby Safety Products to Be Exempted from Tariffs

Tuesday, June 18, 2019   (0 Comments)

If imposed, 25% tariff will result in higher costs for baby safety products in the U.S., placing unfair burden on families and putting babies and small children at risk.

 

Mount Laurel, NJ, June 17, 2019 - The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) is back in Washington, D.C. this week where managing director Lisa Trofe testified before the USTR 301 Committee on behalf of the industry to again call for products critical to the safety and care of babies and small children to be exempted from the proposed 25% tariff on finished goods and component parts produced in China.

 

Last September, prior to the finalization of List 3, the USTR acknowledged, given the importance of products used for the care and safety of babies, including car seats, these items should not be subject to tariffs and provided a number of exceptions. Now, however, in List 4, previously excluded childcare articles are again being targeted.

 

Playing a critical role in protecting babies' lives is core to the juvenile products industry. The fact that products like car seats and cribs save lives has not changed since September, so previous exemptions should not be removed now and should in fact be expanded, explained JPMA's executive director, Kelly Mariotti, who testified before the USTR 301 Committee hearing last fall.

 

"The importance of the trade war in any scenario does not surpass the importance of baby safety. Products like car seats, cribs, play yards and baby gates should be available to caregivers at the lowest possible cost. Any tariff that increases the price of products that provide for the care and safety of our most vulnerable populations must be avoided," said Mariotti. "Even one death of a child due to unavailability of affordable life saving baby products is one too many."

 

Given the historically low margins in the juvenile products industry, JPMA expects a 25% tariff to negatively impact availability and cost of a variety of juvenile products necessary for the care and protection of U.S. infants and toddlers. Additionally, small businesses, which make up much of the industry, are not able to bear the brunt of a global trade war and may exit juvenile product categories or close completely, which limits choice and impacts price. JPMA anticipates increased costs will be passed on to U.S. consumers out of necessity if the tariff is imposed.

 

Keeping price points affordable is key because higher costs for these products will place an unfair burden on families that will undoubtedly result in fewer babies and toddlers having access to products critical to their safety. For example, parents with limited financial options may forego using a crib or rely on secondhand or older products that do not meet current safety standards.

 

Each year, motor vehicle crashes are a leading killer and injurer of children. In 2017, 447 children under age 8 were killed in car crashes and another 80,000 were injured. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), child restraints reduce fatal injury by 71% for infants and by 54% for toddlers and approximately 40% of children in fatal crashes were completely unrestrained.

 

"A 25% tariff on these important and state-required safety devices could increase prices dramatically and lead to more children riding unrestrained or improperly restrained in seat belts alone, or in devices that do not comply with current safety regulations. This means more of our babies' and children's lives will be at stake," added Joe Colella, JPMA's director of child passenger safety.

 

During testimony, Trofe highlighted how products necessary for protecting babies and young children should be easily and affordably accessed in any marketplace in the world, including here in the U.S. She also requested on behalf of the industry that the List 3, Part 2 exceptions for certain juvenile products be maintained and expanded so all HTS schedules are qualified to exclude "childcare articles and protective safety products and components."

 

JPMA agrees our nation is long overdue on addressing China's actions and policies related to intellectual property and counterfeit goods, but tariffs on finished or component parts of baby safety and care products isn't the right approach because the stakes are simply too high.

 

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ABOUT JPMA The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) is the voice of the industry on quality and safety for baby and children's products in North America. We do this by:

  • Advocating for safety through product certification programs and legislative and regulatory involvement;
  • Supporting a broad and diverse membership through member-only programming and industry promotion;
  • And by acting as a comprehensive source for baby product information and education.

JPMA members represent 95 percent of the prenatal to preschool products sold in North America. To find ou tmore about JPMA, our certification program and products certified, and for a complete listing of JPMA Members, please visit https://jpma.org. Follow JPMA on Twitter @JPMA and connect with us on Facebook to learn about additional safety tips and JPMA initiatives.


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