Washington, D.C. — Yesterday, members of the Precious Metals Association of North America (PMANA) were in Washington D.C. to request the removal of precious metals items from the Trump administration’s proposed tariffs. The tariffs, announced on July 17, originally called for an additional 10 percent duty on imported precious metals including ash, silver nitrate, and gold waste and scrap. Since then, the administration has proposed increasing the duty to 25 percent.
In his testimony before the United States Trade Representative’s Section 301 Committee, PMANA board member Jon Potts warned that tariffs would bring further tension and impede the free flow of precious metals such as imported ash from China.
“In 2017, we imported $6.3 million in precious metals ash from China — over one-third of total U.S. imports,” Potts said. “Should China shift exports elsewhere, as a response to increased costs, revenues for U.S. manufacturers will decrease and, eventually, there will be a negative effect on workers’ wages and jobs,” he continued.
Potts also warned of future retaliatory actions against the U.S. precious metals industry. “China has already threatened retaliation on $1.1 billion in U.S. precious metals exports — including manufacturing inputs such as silver powder for solar panels and platinum group metals for catalysts. These kinds of disruptions to our supply chain would put high-paying U.S. manufacturing jobs at-risk,” Potts said.
Rather than impose tariffs, Potts recommended language that could be included in future trade agreements to protect the precious metals industry from one of China’s most egregious unfair trade practices — counterfeiting bullion bars and coins.
The hearings will continue until next Monday, after which the USTR will reach a final decision on whether or not to grant exemptions. The PMANA will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available.
Press release courtesy of the Precious Metals Association of North America.