Can 12V Companies Get Tariff Exemptions

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Can 12 Volt Companies Get Tarrif Relief

Plenty of car audio companies have applied for exemptions from the current China tariffs of up to 30 percent on car audio goods. Pioneer, Alpine, JL Audio, Kicker, and AudioControl, as well as Clarion and Mitek are among those companies that have sought relief from the US Trade Representative.  In just about all if not all cases, no relief was granted.

The last administration halted all exemptions with the new year 2021. But on Monday, the Biden Administration said it will reinstate them.

Some  believe the whole process of tariff exemptions puts smaller companies at a disadvantage because large corporations can afford to hire Washington lobbyists, said The Wall Street Journal back in late December. Apple was granted exemptions. Sonos received at least one exemption as did Polaris (for cameras), but several Polaris requests for exemptions on other products were denied.  You can see exemption requests and denials here.

For example Clarion applied for 5 exemptions for OEM radios and parts and was denied.

JL Audio, which manufactures products in the US submitted 6 applications for exemption from tariffs on loudspeaker parts such as top plate, U-Yoke, T-Yoke, Cross Over, Speaker Grille and Speaker Tray. It also submitted for exemption on marine amplifiers. All were denied.

Alpine applied for exemption for car audio speakers and an OEM docking station and a Bluetooth module, (under the $300B group of tariffs).  These were denied.

AudioControl, which also manufactures in the US, asked for 21 exemptions on parts and products under the $200B group of tariffs and was denied.

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) responded to the news that exemptions will resume by stating what is really needed is a roll back of the tariffs.

“While we appreciate the opportunity for a targeted tariff exclusion process, the Biden administration needs to put an end to tariffs that are hurting American businesses and consumers. Americans have paid more than $90 billion in tariffs since the trade war began,” said CTA CEO Gary Shapiro, adding. “We urge the administration to continue working with our allies on a different approach to address issues with China.”

AudioControl welcomed the reinstatement of exemptions and said it plans to reapply.  CEO Alex Camara said, “At AudioControl, most of our products are assembled and manufactured here in the US. However, we do have to source certain components globally and we did apply for exclusions to these components used in our US manufacturing but these were not granted. This does burden our costs and we hope that the announcement today will allow for a new exclusion process to start again.”





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  1. No one is suggesting that all parts be manufactured in the US but there are sources in other countries besides China for these parts. In the three years since the tariffs started manufacturers could have set up a factory to manufacture these much needed parts.
    Most manufacturers just wanted to take the easy way out which was to complain about tariffs and raise prices. Manufacturing critical parts has to come out of China at some point.

  2. Companies have had almost 3 years to source parts from other than China. If your company is still dependent on only Chinese based manufacturing supply chains then you have no one to blame…

    1. Hi Ed. Point taken, and thanks for the comment. But part of the problem is the parts for speakers, amplifiers, etc., which generally come from China. Even if you manufacture in the US, you may be stuck buying parts from China with heavy tariffs.

    2. Where exactly would you have these parts be sourced from? These parts (complete and raw materials) simply arent made elsewhere.

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