Dear Secretary Mnuchin,
As numerous industries and individual businesses in the United States suffer extreme cash flow problems due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, we urge you to immediately issue a directive to U.S. Customs and Border Protection to defer all tariffs for at least 90 days, or until the crisis passes.
As you know, the coronavirus is causing major damage to the U.S. economy. While Congress has now enacted a wide variety of economic aid, many industries and businesses, including small businesses, will still face significant cash-flow problems. Retailers have already had to close more than 47,000 stores in the United States, and manufacturers have shut their doors to protect workers. We anticipate that hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of American workers at retail companies and the thousands of companies that supply them will be furloughed in the coming weeks. Additional measures to help businesses ensure they have enough liquidity to weather the crisis are necessary.
At such a moment when Congress has clearly indicated that deferring employer taxes should be a part of the U.S. response to the crisis, the Treasury Department should direct that all tariffs will be deferred for at least 90 days and, more broadly, until the companies paying them can emerge from the ongoing crisis.