President Donald Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on another $200 billion worth of Chinese goods drew a swift rebuke from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and business groups.
Trump announced Monday that the US Trade Representative would begin to impose a 10% tariffs on Chinese goods ranging from food to fabrics to industrial chemicals. The tariffs will increase to 25% on January 1, 2019, unless the US and China agree on a trade deal.
The escalation of the US-China trade war was quickly criticized by both Republican and Democratic lawmakers along with many business groups. All of the critiques centered on economists warnings that the tariffs would ultimately harm US business and consumers by raising prices on imported goods from China.
Additionally, concerns about China’s retaliatory action on US agricultural goods popped up from farmers groups.
Here’s a rundown of the criticism from lawmakers, business groups, and conservative interest groups:
- Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND): “The reckless escalation of the administration’s trade war is having serious consequences for rural America, which is already suffering from the uncertainty and low commodity prices caused by the disruptions to our markets,” Heitkamp said.
- Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX, chair of the House Ways and Means committee): “Any time tariffs are imposed I worry that Americans will be forced to pay extra costs – in this case on nearly half of US imports from China,” Brady said. “I continue to emphasize that the ultimate means to create an effective outcome is for President Trump and President Xi to engage constructively to develop a long-term and profound solution that levels the playing field for American manufacturers, farmers, and workers.”
- National Retail Federation: “Every time this trade war escalates, the risk to US consumers grows. With these latest tariffs, many hardworking Americans will soon wonder why their shopping bills are higher and their budgets feel stretched,” Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the NRF, said.
- National Associations of Manufacturers: “No one wins in a trade war, and manufacturing workers are hopeful the administration’s approach will quickly yield results. Now is the time for talks—not just tariffs—and manufacturers have laid out a blueprint to reset the US-China commercial relationship that will result in ending China’s unfair and anti-competitive behavior,” Jay Timmons, NAM’s president and CEO, said.
- Consumer Technology Association: “Today’s retaliatory tariffs are not an effective trade policy and may violate US law. Congress has not given the president or the USTR a blank check to pursue a trade war,” Gary Shapiro, CTA’s president and CEO, said. “These new retaliatory tariffs run afoul of the carefully tailored provisions of the Trade Act of 1974, which require any action to be within the scope of the Section 301 investigation. We urge the administration to reconsider its misguided approach of increasing tariffs, as they are directly paid for by American companies and consumers.”
- Americans For Farmers Families: “As trade tensions escalate, and our ability to sell our goods to major markets diminishes, we’re having to make long-term business decisions that could affect our farms for generations,” Casey Guernsey, a seventh-generation farmer and spokesperson for AFF said. “Many family farmers are canceling new projects, selling their equipment and livestock, and even thinking about closing their operations entirely.”
- Freedom Partners (conservative lobbying group): “These tariffs are ‘all pain, no gain’ for American businesses and workers. Countless American employers weighed in on this idea during the comment period and told the administration these tariffs would be job-killers. Unfortunately, their pleas have fallen on deaf ears,” Nathan Nascimento, Freedom Partners’ Executive Vice President, said.