Tuesday, 13 November, 2018

Major Retailers Discuss How Trump's Anti-China Tariff Plan Could Hurt Americans

An employee works inside a steel rerolling mill at Chitra industrial area on the outskirts of Bhavnagar town in the western Indian state of Gujarat White House Staffers Reportedly Signed Nondisclosure Agreements
Kenny Thornton | 21 March, 2018, 04:45

Reuters reported last week that the Trump administration was considering punitive tariffs on some US$60 billion worth of Chinese information technology, telecoms and consumer products annually.

"On this issue, we stand by the European Commission, which is now holding talks with our American friends on how to exempt the EU from the planned steel and aluminium tariffs", Tusk said in a letter inviting EU leaders to a summit on Thursday and Friday.

Already, the steel and aluminum tariffs have sparked a response from the European Union, which Friday released a list of US products - from whiskey and motorcycles to breakfast foods and batteries - it plans to introduce duties on if the 28-nation bloc is not exempted. While Trump has repeatedly singled out China as a key trade violator, his toughest actions such as withdrawing from an Asia-Pacific trade pact - which excluded China - and slapping tariffs on steel have undermined relations with allies more than with the world's second-biggest economy.

But China's premier, Li Keqiang, said the issue should be solved through dialogue and negotiation. Generally speaking, if industry A in the US economy might feel some momentary relief from foreign competition through one set of tariffs, then industry B in the USA economy may face higher priced imported inputs that it must use to make exported goods to sell into a highly competitive world market and thus be adversely affected, either because those higher input costs due to the higher USA tariffs hobble their price positions, because other national governments place pressures upon purchasing decisions to steer away from USA -made products in retaliation, or both.

But the groups say they worry that imposing additional tariffs on China are isn't the best way to respond. The government pays great attention to protecting intellectual property and improving the business environment, the ministry said in response to a request for comment on the report the White House plans tariffs on China.

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"At the same time, we are concerned about the negative impact as you consider remedial actions under Section 301 of the Trade Act could have on America's working families", the letter states. New tariffs on that imported steel will hurt construction workers and drive up the price of housing. The $60 billion in proposed tariffs is more than 20 percent of the recently passed tax cuts expected in 2019.

The letter, first reported Sunday by the Wall Street Journal, is signed by 45 U.S. trade groups representing everything from the high-tech industry to apparel vendors, agribusiness and auto parts importers.

The protectionist rhetoric however, entered the White House with the arrival of Trump and his "America first" discourse. In other words, the "tariffs on China" would actually be paid for by American companies that import products from China.

According to a policy brief released by the Trade Partnership, a Washington-based pro-trade think tank, Trump's tariffs will wipe out about 179,000 jobs-including an estimated 28,000 jobs in the construction industry.

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