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WASHINGTON (May 6, 2019) – The following statement may be attributed to American Chemistry Council (ACC) President and CEO, Cal Dooley, in response to reports by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer of a Friday deadline for resolving escalating trade tensions between the U.S. and China:

“U.S. chemical manufacturers support comprehensive and sensible trade policy solutions that help us maximize our competitive advantage, grow our exports and create jobs. The risks of continuing to use tariffs as a negotiating tactic with China are simply too high – and any potential benefits still unclear. China supplies the United States with several chemicals which are not available anywhere else and which are critical inputs to U.S. manufacturing. China is also the third-largest export market for U.S. chemicals manufacturers. Future growth for our industry depends on a strong trading relationship with China and a trade policy that creates certainty and predictability for investors – not a looming threat of more or higher tariffs.

“We are starting to see signs that the tariffs are disrupting supply chains, cutting off markets, and eroding U.S. chemical manufacturing competitiveness. Although chemical imports from China grew by 22.7 percent in 2018, the retaliatory tariffs significantly dampened U.S. chemical exports to China, resulting in only a 2.7 percent increase in 2018 – nearly tripling the chemicals trade deficit, from $1.4 billion to $4.0 billion. Year-over-year performance deteriorated most dramatically in the fourth quarter, with chemical exports declining 24 percent to our industry’s third largest export market in China. We believe the surge in imports is a direct result of companies stocking inventories before each new Section 301 tariff hike went into effect.

“ACC and its members strongly urge President Trump to remain focused on sensible solutions with China this week and forgo the imposition of higher tariffs.”

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