President’s Visit to Tennessee Highlights Sting Caused By Latest Wave of Tariffs

Across Tennessee, Businesses, Workers and Families Facing New Taxes Thanks to Recent Trade War Escalation

QUOTE FROM TARIFFS HURT THE HEARTLAND SPOKESMAN BRIAN KUEHL: “The latest wave of tariffs is a tax on everyday items that Americans buy to support their families. Food, clothing, furniture, and other necessities are now more expensive thanks to a trade war that continues to take a significant toll on every corner of our economy. In Tennessee, workers, families, farmers, manufacturers, retailers, and countless other businesses are all being buried under the burden of tariffs and the costs will only continue to rise.”

TENNESSEE VOTERS SEE ECONOMIC PAIN ON THE HORIZON. “A series of NBC News/Marist polls of six politically important states released in recent weeks highlight the potential political peril Trump faces if the trade war with China affects a larger swath of the economy. Pluralities of registered voters in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas believe tariffs will damage the U.S. economy.” (Trump Risks Midterm Voter Backlahs for GOP If He Expands China Trade War, As Tariffs Are Unpopular in Six Key States,” CNBC, 9/7/18)

  • NOTE: “The numbers listed below show the proportion who believe tariffs will ‘protect American jobs and help the U.S. economy,’ followed by those who think they will ‘raise the costs of consumer goods and hurt the U.S. economy,’ then those who say the actions will not have much of an effect. … Tennessee: 28 percent/41 percent/17 percent (-13) (Trump Risks Midterm Voter Backlahs for GOP If He Expands China Trade War, As Tariffs Are Unpopular in Six Key States,” CNBC, 9/7/18)

‘THIS COULD BE CATASTROPHIC.’  “Small businesses around the country say they are bracing for the latest round of tariffs, which could cut into already-thin profits and leave them with little recourse but to pass on additional costs to consumers beginning this holiday season. … ‘A 25 percent bump at the wholesale level could end up being a 40 or 50 percent increase by the time something gets to the sales floor,’ said Adam Rossi, owner of Adam Solar Rides … ‘The American consumer just isn’t willing to pay that much more.’ (Abha Bhattarai, “‘This Could Be Catastrophic’: Small Businesses Say New Tariffs Will Make It Even Harder to Compete,” Washington Post, 9/20/18)

TARIFFS MEAN HIGHER PRICES FOR GROCERIES, CLOTHES, FURNITURE, AND A LOT MORE. “The consensus among many American retailers and small business owners is that the tariffs themselves will hurt business — and that the pain will be passed along to American shoppers in the form of higher prices on a vast array of goods. The new tariffs affect imports ranging from canned vegetables to wood furniture, and seem to affect at least some of the products from major consumer brands like Crocs, Nike, Apple, and Procter & Gamble.” (Brad Tuttle, “All The Major Retailers That Say They’ll Have to Raise Prices Because of New Tariffs on China,” Time, 9/26/18)

PRICES WILL SPIKE AS HOLIDAY SHOPPING BEGINS. “Many American companies have already announced that tariffs could force them to raise prices, including Walmart, Gap, Coca-Cola, and General Motors. Macy’s also expects to be affected, and some Apple products are expected to get more expensive as well, although not its new smartwatch or wireless headphones. … ‘There’s no way around it: Tariffs are taxes on American consumers,’ says David French, senior vice president for government relations at the National Retail Federation. He adds that some prices might increase as soon as the holiday shopping season.” (Yoni Blumberg, “Trump’s $250 Billion in China Tariffs Are Now in Effect – Here’s What Could Get More Expensive,” CNBC, 9/25/18)

TENNESSEE MANUFACTURERS SAY TARIFFS MAKE IT IMPOSSIBLE TO COMPETE WITH FOREIGN COMPANIES. “Executives from six area companies employing more than 1,000 Tennesseans described the significant price increases on steel, both domestic and imported, that they said are impairing their ability to compete against foreign companies. According to the Aug. 13 letter, steel prices are the highest they have been since 2008 and they have increased by 43 percent since this time last year. ‘These employees and our businesses depend on access to competitively priced steel to fabricate our products and compete in a global marketplace,’ the leaders wrote. ‘We cannot compete globally when the cost of our most important input has spiked and delivery times are extended.’” (Jamie McGee, “Tennessee Manufacturers Urge Trump to Rescind Steel Tariffs,” Nashville Tennessean, 8/20/18)

MSTU STUDY: TARIFFS HURT $1.4 BILLION IN TENNESSEE EXPORTS. “Up to $1.38 billion in Tennessee exports could be impacted by tariffs in a deepening trade war, according to a new report from a Middle Tennessee State University professor. Political science professor Steven Livingston recently wrote a report on how products listed as potential targets for tariffs by countries like Mexico, Canada, China and the European Union would impact Tennessee companies.” (Rachel Rippetoe, “MTSU Professor: Nearly $1.4B in Tennessee Exports Could Suffer from Tariffs,” Nashville Business Journal, 8/6/18)

TARIFFS HIT ABOUT ONE-FIFTH OF IMPORTS TO MEMPHIS ALONE. “Tariffs on Chinese products singled out by the White House would impact about 10 percent of the cargo reaching most U.S. ports on average, almost 18 percent of the freight reaching Memphis. … Memphis’ outsized share of imports reflects its extensive 55,000-employee logistics hub. Memphis contains the nation’s No. 1 cargo airport, freight depots for river barge lines and the nation’s five leading railroads, more than 100 truck terminals, and thousands of acres of distribution centers operated by major retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers bringing in imports ranging from machine tools to hammers and running shoes.” (Ted Evanoff, “Trump Tariffs in Tennessee Would Hit 18% of Memphis Imports,” Memphis Commercial Appeal, 9/5/18)

  • TARIFFS ON TENNESSEE IMPORTS MEAN LAYOFFS IN MEMPHIS AND HIGHER PRICES NATIONWIDE. “If the proposed tariffs are put in place, the result could lead to higher prices nationwide on consumer items and possible layoffs in the Memphis logistics industry if import volumes fell, University of Memphis economist John Gnuschke said. ‘The truth of tariffs is somebody has to pay the price,’ Gnuschke said.” (Ted Evanoff, “Trump Tariffs in Tennessee Would Hit 18% of Memphis Imports,” Memphis Commercial Appeal, 9/5/18)

TRADE WAR WILL INFLICT MAJOR DAMAGE ON AUTO MANUFACTURING. “The Trump administration’s new tariffs on aluminum and steel and the threat of more duties on imported cars and car parts will weaken the U.S. economy and inflict serious damage on the nation’s auto industry, a panel of trade analysts warned Wednesday. Americans will pay thousands of dollars more for new cars and trucks as a result of the tariffs, and as many as 700,000 workers in the auto industry could lose their jobs, the analysts told a Senate committee.” (Michael Collins, “Tariffs on Imported Cars, Parts Could Harm U.S. Economy and Auto Industry, Experts Warn,” USA Today, 9/5/18)

  • AUTO INDUSTRY EMPLOYS A THIRD OF TENNESSEE’S MANUFACTURING WORKERS. “In Tennessee, the number of auto jobs has nearly doubled, and exports and family incomes have increased under the North American Free Trade Agreement, which eliminated most tariffs between the United States, Mexico and Canada. A third of the state’s manufacturing workforce is now employed in the automobile industry.” (Michael Collins, “Tariffs on Imported Cars, Parts Could Harm U.S. Economy and Auto Industry, Experts Warn,” USA Today, 9/5/18)