The Vision Council Hosts Town Hall Call for Members About Pending Proposed China Product Tariffs

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ALEXANDRIA, Va.— Approximately 200 Vision Council members participated in two informational conference calls yesterday afternoon which were hosted by The Vision Council to discuss the fourth group of China 301 duties and how they will potentially impact the optical industry, as well as The Vision Council's plans. The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) published a fourth list of tariff numbers on May 17. The list now includes core eyewear products including spectacle lenses, ophthalmic frames, sunglasses, reading glasses and other low vision devices made in China.

These and hundreds of other product categories (outside of optical) could become subject to China 301 customs duties of as much as 25 percent.

Deadlines for comments opposing the proposed action must be filed by June 17 at Registry.gov and must be filed electronically by that date while comments from those requesting to testify at upcoming USTR hearings need to be filed by June 10. The Vision Council said it intends to file comments on behalf of its members about the hardships that would be posed by such tariffs and is utilizing its existing government relations agencies to ensure that its contacts in the House, the Senate and other groups are made aware of those as well as its request for a spot to testify at the upcoming hearings.

The Vision Council also said it had been having discussions with "several professional' organizations and societies in optometry, ophthalmology and opticianry sectors to coordinate messages wherever possible.

Ashley Mills, CEO of The Vision Council, Greg Chavez, The Vision Council’s executive vice president of operations and membership, and Rick Van Arnam, The Vision Council’s regulatory counsel, were on the call, and reviewed the history of The Vision Council's monitoring of the potential tariff imports.

Chavez and Van Arnam stressed that it was important for companies to file their own commentary as well and would soon be sending its members suggested templates that could be used, setting up language for all of the member division companies.

Companies and interested parties can also fashion and file their own comments any time, starting now. They must be submitted to this particular Regulations.gov page for Docket ID: USTR-2019-000. 

Additional questions can be posted to Van Arnam at rvanarnam@barnesrichardson.com.