Companies Warn White House Over Tariff Increases

More than 600 companies and trade associations have signed a letter to U.S. President Donald Trump warning him of the broader impacts of his proposed 25 percent tariffs on Chinese products. Those that sent the letter are part of a coalition opposing the tariffs called Tariffs Hurt the Heartland. Tariffs Hurt the Heartland is supported by more than 150 trade groups representing agriculture, manufacturing, retail and tech industries. The letter also went to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

The letter suggests that additional tariffs, on top of those already levied, will lead to job loss and cause harm to consumers and the U.S. economy. Citing estimates from international consultancy the Trade Partnership, the authors wrote that additional tariffs on Chinese imports would wipe out more than 2 million U.S. jobs. They would also reduce the value of U.S. Gross Domestic Product by 1 percent and add more than $2,000 in costs for the average American family of four.

Just days ago, President Trump said he is confident that threatening China with tariffs will be an effective negotiation tool. In recent months, the U.S. has levied tariffs on some $250 billion worth of Chinese imports and is considering expanding the tariffs to an additional $300 billion of Chinese imports, including laptops, footwear, mobile phones and other consumer goods. The new tariffs, if enacted, would cover essentially all imports from the Asian nation.

In the letter, the companies say they support the president’s efforts to hold trading partners accountable, but wrote “We believe this goal can be achieved without taxing Americans.” Farmers in the Midwest have lost the most as the Chinese market for soybeans and other crops has dried up due to retaliatory tariffs from China. The White House announced a plan last month to provide farmers with $16 billion in aid to help alleviate their financial pain.