Evidence Piling Up Against Tariffs

September 12, 2018

AAEI is responding to the Trump Administration’s numerous trade actions in a two-fold way, by joining multi-industry letters called for an end to the tariffs and by filing specific and technical comments under its own letterhead.

A recent example is a set of comments AAEI sent  to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) in September 2018 on Round 3 of the proposed Section 301 tariffs on goods imported from China. “We have seen a cascading effect resulting from the imposition of and pending tariffs on Chinese products as these costs ripple through the supply chain,” the comments state, including the impact on company finances and, in some cases, companies having to pay duties on their own products.

AAEI relayed to USTR the results of a recent survey of AAEI members on the impact of the Section 301 tariffs:

  • Two-thirds of AAEI’s members responded that the President’s trade policies (i.e., trade actions, free trade agreement renegotiations) has created uncertainty resulting in disruption of their company’s trade plans (e.g., investments to expand in particular markets, adjustments in trade operations to serve regions or markets).
  • Twenty-five (25%) percent have indicated that their company’s leadership has placed investments on hold due to trade policy uncertainty.
  • Sixty-five (65%) percent of the respondents indicated that their companies have incurred costs (e.g. hired consultants, outside experts) or diverted internal resources from tasks associated with the company’s core business to deal with trade policy uncertainty.”
  • Eighty (80%) percent of respondents stated that their companies will be affected by retaliatory tariffs discussed or proposed by other countries (e.g., Canada, European Union, etc.).

In addition to its technical comments to USTR, AAEI joined a multi-industry letter to the U.S. Trade Ambassador calling for an end to the tariffs. “Continuing the tit-for-tat tariff escalation with China,” the letter states,”only serves to expand the harm to more U.S. economic interests, including farmers, families, businesses, and workers. Unilaterally imposing tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars in goods invites retaliation and has not resulted in meaningful negotiations or concessions.”