U.S. Trade Associations Urge President Not to Impose Tariffs on China

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In a letter from 45 U.S. trade associations sent to President Trump Sunday, the associations urged the president to avoid imposing tariffs on China because they would negatively impact the U.S. economy and consumers, according to a Reuters report.

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According to a Bloomberg report, the president could announce new tariffs on China this week amounting to $60 billion in value, in response to what the U.S. perceives as intellectual property theft by China.

“We urge the administration not to impose tariffs and to work with the business community to find an effective, but measured, solution to Chinas protectionist trade policies and practices that protects American jobs and competitiveness,” the groups wrote in the letter, as quoted by Reuters.

The groups also stated the tariffs would be “particularly harmful.”

According to the report, the sweeping tariffs could take aim at a wide range of products, including consumer electronics, clothing and shoes from China.

Among the groups making the plea were the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Retail Federation and the Information Technology Industry Council, according to the report.

Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce, issued a statement last week that was strongly against the imposition of tariffs.

“The administration is right to focus on the negative economic impact of China’s industrial policies and unfair trade practices, but the U.S. Chamber would strongly disagree with a decision to impose sweeping tariffs,” he said. “Simply put, tariffs are damaging taxes on American consumers. Tariffs of $30 billion a year would wipe out over a third of the savings American families received from the doubling of the standard deduction in tax reform. If the tariffs reach $60 billion, which has been rumored, the impact would be even more devastating.”

Last August, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced the launch of a Section 301 investigation of China.

“The investigation will seek to determine whether acts, policies, and practices of the Government of China related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation are unreasonable or discriminatory and burden or restrict U.S. commerce,” a USTR announcement said in August.

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The president earlier this year hinted at levying penalties of some form against China vis-a-vis ongoing intellectual property theft complaints. Trump told Reuters in January that he was considering a big “fine” for China.

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