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Trade war

US to begin tariff hearings on $300 billion of Chinese goods

Best Buy leads hundreds of businesses expected to testify against levies

U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to impose additional tariffs immediately if Chinese President Xi Jinping skips the G-20 summit in Osaka this month. (Source photos by Getty Images)

NEW YORK -- Some of America's biggest companies will have a chance to voice opposition to proposed levies on $300 billion of additional Chinese goods as the U.S. kicks off public hearings on Monday.

The hearings, held by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, will span seven days and 320 companies are expected to testify, including retailer Best Buy, footwear and apparel manufacturers New Balance and Kenneth Cole, and the American branch of Chinese TV maker TCL.

Best Buy, which will testify on the first day of the hearings, last month warned of price increases if additional tariffs were put into place.

Last month, tensions in the U.S.-China trade war escalated after the U.S. increased tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25% at the direction of President Donald Trump, who also ordered the U.S. Trade Representative's office to "begin the process of raising tariffs on essentially all remaining imports from China," valued at approximately $300 billion.

Trump this week threatened to impose these tariffs immediately if Chinese President Xi Jinping skips the G-20 summit in Osaka later this month.

On Thursday, an open letter signed by more than 600 companies, including Walmart, Costco, Target and Gap, urged the Trump administration to hold off tariffs and "get back to the negotiating table" with China.

Last month, a group of 170 shoe makers and retailers, including Nike, Adidas, Clarks, Crocs, Reebok, and Skechers, sent an open letter to Trump calling on him to remove footwear from the next round of tariffs.

The list of Chinese imports that would be affected by the new levies include everything from raw materials to apparel and consumer electronics.

Some small businesses as well as consumers in the U.S. also responded to the administration's request for public comments on the proposed tariffs.

"Many of our items we ordered before the announcement of" additional tariffs, said Gordon Companies, a family retailer business based in upstate New York that specializes in Christmas and other seasonal decorations.

"When we ordered our items we made sure that this chapter was not affected and we did not budget" for the additional costs of a 25% tariff, the company said. "This could put over 100 employees out of work."

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