Current USTR Tariffs give Chinese manufacturers a competitive advantage over USA Supplier and Manufacturers, crippling US goods and growth recovery
DOWNLITE Outdoor with other endemic outdoor brands still battle Trumpian Instated tariff Policies
Mason, OH, June XX, 2021 — Downlite Outdoor, a division of Downlite, a market leader in down and feather processing and a supplier of responsibly sourced performance fills unduly burdened by current round of Tariffs. USTR Tariffs give Chinese manufacturers a competitive advantage over American manufacturers. Small businesses across America are struggling to survive. COVID is only the most recent challenge.
One of DOWNLITE’s key raw materials was on list 4A while Chinese imported finished goods were part of list 4B. List 4A was finalized and put into place on September 1, 2019, while list 4B was never implemented. The result was that raw materials needed to make products in America by American workers now carried tariff, as they were a part of list 4A. At the same time, finished products made entirely in China and imported into the USA were never tariffed, as they were a part of list 4B. This unexpected consequence gave China made finished goods a clear cost advantage over USA manufactured product, putting Chinese factories to work while hurting American workers. This still remains a crippling challenge to US suppliers and manufacturers.
While the virus has ravaged the American economy for the last 15 months, small businesses across America were fighting to survive years prior. Government regulation and policy add costs and complexity at every turn. American manufacturers were bending under this pressure prior to COVID, family businesses being especially vulnerable. DOWNLITE is one such family business fighting for its existence.
DOWNLITE is a family-owned USA-based manufacturer of high-quality bedding: pillows, comforters, mattress pads, and more, as well as natural fill insulations. DOWNLITE has multiple North American factories and warehouses, and a long-standing history of supporting American workers, employing over 400 employees in Ohio and North Carolina alone.
When the Trump Administration announced tariffs on Chinese imports in 2018, a new set of challenges began. Unlikely the intent, but certainly the result, the tariffs on certain raw materials (specifically on “Tariff List 3”) made American made products LESS competitive than similar products made in China and imported to the USA.
In response to this misguided policy, DOWNLITE took part in United States Trade Representative (USTR) hearings to explain why these raw materials should not be burdened with a tariff, citing lack of domestic alternative supply sources, probable domestic job loss, and increased costs to the end consumer. Based on the guidance provided, the USTR removed those raw materials from List 3. DOWNLITE, along with many other small family businesses in the same industry, was relieved. The good news, however, was short lived.
In Mid-2019, the USTR announced “List 4”, which once again included DOWNLITE’s core raw materials. DOWNLITE returned to Washington DC and made its case to the USTR. This time, the USTR decided against removal of these materials from the List. Even worse, the USTR split List 4 into two parts. List 4A included all materials coming from China, where less than 75% of the total volume imported into the United States originated from China. List 4B included all other items. The USTR apparently believed this would help American manufacturers. Unfortunately, it only made things worse.
In early 2020, DOWNLITE and others once again worked with the USTR on an exclusion process and were successful in having the tariff removed. However, rather than ensure these changes were permanent, the majority of exclusions expired at midnight on December 31, 2020.
DOWNLITE has been working diligently with the current administration and the USTR to reinstate the previously approved exclusions. Unfortunately, these tariffs remain. This continues to give Chinese manufacturers a competitive advantage over companies like DOWNLITE. This has resulted in manufacturing once done in America shifting to China, eliminating American jobs.
Small businesses across America battle every day to survive. They are nimble, full of hard-working people with families depending upon them. Over years, often generations, these small businesses have battled through changing economic conditions, even as the recent virus caused chaos. They will face, and overcome, any challenge. However, misguided government policy that hurts U.S. business and employees should not be one of them.
DOWNLITE continues to work with the USTR and our representatives to reinstate the previously approved tariff exemptions. If you would like to help DOWNLITE and American workers continue to make quality products in the USA, please write the USTR at or your representatives in the Senate and the House and express your support to have the tariff exclusion process restarted.
Downlite has a rich history in feather and down sourcing, with origins dating back more than 100 years in Europe. Downlite is the largest US bedding supplier for the home and hospitality industries (Macy’s, Costco, Marriott International, W Hotels). Downlite is also one of the largest bulk down and feather suppliers to apparel and sleeping bag makers in the outdoor industry.
A leader in responsible sourcing, Downlite is proud to have been awarded the first RDS Scope Certificate. Additionally, Downlite was offered the first TDS-Certified supply chain globally— both from Europe and the US. Downlite has four US-based manufacturing sites and one manufacturing site in Canada; its sourcing teams are based in China, Europe, and the US. Downlite is bluesign certified, and a proud member of the American Feather & Down Council. Downlite Outdoor
Current Downlite customers include Patagonia, The North Face, Marmot, REI, Canada Goose, Lululemon, Ralph Lauren, Enlightened Equipment, Hammock Gear, Columbia Sportswear, Haglofs, Cascade Design, and TheBanana Republic.