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U.S. trade associations join in national campaign to oppose Trump's tariffs

Staff Writer |
Americans for Free Trade, a new coalition of more than 80 U.S. trade associations, and Farmers for Free Trade, the coalition backed by the nation's largest agriculture industry groups, on Wednesday announced participation in a national campaign to oppose the Trump administration's tariffs against imports.

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The multi-million U.S. dollar campaign, called "Tariffs Hurt the Heartland," will focus on telling the stories of American businesses, farmers, workers and families harmed by tariffs through town-hall style events, grassroots outreach to Congress and the administration, social media, rapid response and digital advertising, according to a statement from the trade coalitions.

The campaign will kick off with events in Chicago, Nashville, Pennsylvania and Ohio next week, the statement said, adding that additional events will take place in September and October in key communities throughout the heartland.

Americans for Free Trade represents a variety of supply chain stakeholders, including U.S. manufacturers, farmers and agribusinesses, retailers, technology companies, service suppliers, natural gas and oil companies, importers and exporters.

"Every sector of the U.S. economy stands to lose in a trade war," National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement. "That's why a diverse coalition of industries is banding together to amplify the voices of hardworking Americans and ensure Washington understands the real-world consequences of a trade war."

The campaign came after the Trump administration has imposed high tariffs on a variety of imported products worth of tens of billions of U.S. dollars, provoking strong opposition from the domestic business community and retaliatory measures from U.S. trading partners.

"Tariffs are a tax on American families," said Sandy Kennedy, president of Retail Industry Leaders Association. "This escalating trade war threatens to tax every aspect of our American lifestyle, from the clothes on our back and the food we eat to the cars we drive and shoes we wear."

Also on Wednesday, Americans for Free Trade sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi asking for support.

"We hope you will lend your support to our efforts across the country and participate in in-district events with affected stakeholders," the letter said.

"We also strongly encourage Congress to exercise its oversight role on trade policy matters to prevent further harm to U.S. workers, consumers and families that will result from new tariffs - both those already being implemented and future tariffs that have been proposed," the trade coalition said. "Tariffs are the wrong approach to bring about meaningful change."

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