U.S. businesses urge Washington to remove recently imposed tariffs
he coalition named Americans for Free Trade sent a letter to U.S. President Donald Trump, saying that the White House should keep its words on lifting tariffs if a trade deal could be finalized with China.
"They were promised that tariffs were merely a means to an end, and that all this damage would be worth it. A deal that fails to lift tariffs would represent a broken promise to these hardworking Americans," the letter wrote.
Bearing 151 signatures of a wide range of business associations in farming, manufacturing, shipping and many other industries, the letter emphasized that "any deal must fully eliminate tariffs."
"As our coalition has made clear since the trade war began, tariffs are taxes that American businesses and consumers pay," the letter stated, adding that Americans have paid over 21 billion U.S. dollars in taxes due to the imposition of new tariffs to date.
Looking at the bigger picture, the letter noted that the damage of the tariffs was not limited to increased cost and spending.
"These taxes and the uncertainty they've created have resulted in layoffs, deferred investments and price increases in every corner of the country," the letter stated.
Besides, business associations are even more worried about the abuse of tariffs in the future, adding that a full economic assessment of the costs of tariffs for American businesses and consumers should be undertaken.
"Only through an in-depth look at the costs of import tariffs, retaliatory tariffs, lost markets, trade loss mitigation plans, deferred investments, business uncertainty and other factors will we truly understand the negative economic impact of tariffs as a negotiating tactic," the letter noted.
In the letter, business associations said they believe that "any true accounting of the costs" would disprove the effectiveness of tariffs as a tool of negotiation.
"Tariffs, however, have already proven to be the wrong way to accomplish this goal," the letter wrote, "the economic harm we predicted has come to pass as American businesses and farmers across the country have suffered the consequences from the onslaught of tariffs."
At the last part of the letter, business associations warned that keeping or extending the abuse of tariffs could make the situation even worse.
"It will only worsen if your Administration chooses to retain or add punitive tariffs against China or other countries going forward," the letter warned.
Americans for Free Trade, a coalition of 150 trade association members involving multiple industries, was formed in September 2018 with an aim to oppose tariffs and highlight the benefits of international trade to the U.S. economy. ■