Among the biggest headlines from the recent G-20 Summit was the president’s “tariff truce” with China, hailing a 90-day pause on new tariff actions as the U.S. and China continue to hammer out a long-term pact. For USTR Section 301 List 3 products, this pause delays the planned tariff increase from 10 percent to 25 percent, which was to take force on Jan. 1. That means good, but temporary, relief for hundreds of American companies feeling the pinch now. But it’s not a reason for Congress to stop pushing for an exclusion process.

Over the past three months, support has been rapidly building across Capitol Hill—in both houses, and on both sides of the aisle—for an exclusion process. We have told our story to dozens of members, so they understand the real impact on List 3 companies. Letters to U.S. Trade Ambassador Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerOn The Money: Economy adds 164K jobs in July | Trump signs two-year budget deal, but border showdown looms | US, EU strike deal on beef exports Chinese, US negotiators fine-tuning details of trade agreement: report The Trump economy keeps roaring ahead MORE in support of an exclusion process for List 3 so far include one led by Reps. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) and Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) with 169 House supporters, and at least two letters in the Senate—one led by Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineWarren's pledge to avoid first nuclear strike sparks intense pushback Almost three-quarters say minimum age to buy tobacco should be 21: Gallup Overnight Defense: Dems talk Afghanistan, nukes at Detroit debate | Senate panel advances Hyten nomination | Iranian foreign minister hit with sanctions | Senate confirms UN ambassador MORE (D-Va.) and another led by Sens. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyNSA improperly collected US phone records in October, new documents show Overnight Defense: Pick for South Korean envoy splits with Trump on nuclear threat | McCain blasts move to suspend Korean military exercises | White House defends Trump salute of North Korean general WH backpedals on Trump's 'due process' remark on guns MORE (R-Pa.) and Doug Jones (D-Ala.) —adding a total of 45 more voices to the chorus.


But why should Congress fight for an exclusion process?

For starters, fairness: USTR Section 301 Lists 1 and 2 both include an exclusion process. List 3 does not. Give us the same opportunity to discuss reasons for exclusion afforded to hundreds of other products.

Over-inclusion: our imported products—tuna loins—are simply the “meat” used in our American cannery. These loins are food ingredients, not finished products. They pose no national security or intellectual property risks, which are the key issues for U.S. trade policy. Based on the proximity to the fishing grounds, tuna is cleaned in China in a state-of-the-art facility and then the “meat” is shipped to our California factory and processed by American workers.

Consumers: for more than 100 years, Bumble Bee has been a top choice for lovers of canned tuna in the U.S., but new tariffs will mean higher prices. Higher prices will be felt immediately by many canned tuna consumers, but will hit fixed-income seniors and low-income families the hardest. Canned tuna is considered to be one of the most affordable sources of lean protein on the market, and a staple for many American families.

Finally, jobs: tariffs present a huge threat to tuna industry jobs. Today, the majority of Bumble Bee Seafoods' canned tuna processing happens inside the United States, but the new tariffs will put thousands of jobs at risk, force Bumble Bee to re-evaluate current and future production feasibility in the U.S., and increase sourcing from off-shore sources directly impacting American jobs and suppliers. U.S. trade policy should be designed to save American jobs—in our case, it is quite the opposite.

To be clear, we are opposed to any tariffs on tuna. We are pleased the tariffs have been paused at 10 percent for a brief time, and that negotiations are ongoing. But in the meantime, Congress must keep fighting for an exclusion process in case we cannot get to a reasonable solution soon.

David F. Melbourne, Jr., is Senior Vice President, Consumer Marketing & Corporate Social Responsibility at Bumble Bee Seafoods.