Consumers And Businesses Across The Country Are Reeling From Tariffs that Have Cost Americans Over $20 Billion on Imports Alone

WASHINGTON – As the trade war drags on, new data shows that tariffs are a growing drag on U.S. businesses and the economy. The price tag for the trade war has now reached more than $20 billion with American consumers – not other countries – bearing the bulk of that cost. While that number alone is far too high, it doesn’t include the cost of retaliatory tariffs that are causing exports to plummet, or the price of programs that are paying our farmers for the losses they have incurred, or the tariffs’ ripple effects on the broader U.S. economy. It also doesn’t include the cost of uncertainty the trade war has created that is preventing American businesses from being able to plan for the future, invest and grow

Across the country, tariffs are taking their toll on American businesses and families. It’s more apparent than ever that the trade war needs to come to a swift end.

Exports Sank By Nearly $16 Billion Thanks to Retaliatory Tariffs. “The analysis, by the market research firm Trade Partnership Worldwide and commissioned by Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, an ad-hoc group of trade associations seeking to roll back the levies, found that U.S. exports sank last year due to retaliatory tariffs set by China and other countries. Overall, exports declined by $15.7 billion, or 14 percent, last year, but exports of products not subject to retaliation increased by $119 billion, about 10 percent, indicating that companies could still sell abroad if the field was level.” (Washington Examiner, 3/6/19)

ECONOMISTS: Tariff Burden Shouldered By American Consumers, Not China. “Significantly, the analysis of import price data by Mary Amiti, Stephen Redding and David Weinstein also found that almost all of the cost of the tariffs was being paid by U.S. consumers and companies. That contradicts Trump’s claim that China is paying the tariffs. ‘This is kind of the worst-case scenario in terms of consumers,’ Weinstein said in an interview.” (Bloomberg, 3/4/19)

  • “The Trump administration’s trade initiatives have targeted China and other foreign powers, but it is U.S. consumers who have taken the hit, according to two new studies. American consumers have been saddled with $69 billion in added costs because of the tariffs the U.S. imposed last year, including on $250 billion on Chinese imports as well as levies on steel and aluminum, according to a study released by a quartet of economists working on a National Science Foundation grant. “U.S. consumers bear the incidence of the U.S. tariffs,” said the authors, who include economists from UCLA, the University of California at Berkeley and Columbia University as well as Penny Goldberg, the chief economist of the World Bank.” (Wall Street Journal, 3/5/19)

STUDY: ‘Trump Tariffs Cost Businesses and Consumers $13 Billion.’ “President Trump’s tariffs on metals and Chinese goods have cost U.S. businesses and consumers a combined $13 billion in 2018, according to a study released Wednesday.” (Washington Examiner, 3/6/19)

Biggest Losers in Trump’s Trade War: Farmers and Blue Collar Workers. “After factoring in the retaliation by other countries, the main victims of Trump’s trade wars had been farmers and blue-collar workers in areas that supported Trump in the 2016 election. ‘Workers in very Republican counties bore the brunt of the costs of the trade war, in part because retaliations disproportionately targeted agricultural sectors, and in part because U.S. tariffs raised the costs of inputs used by these counties,’’ the authors wrote.” (Bloomberg, 3/4/19)

Illinois Farmer In ‘Survival Mode’ While Waiting for Trade War to End.  “‘It’s hard to be optimistic when I look at the grain market charts and see how flat the trend has been for both corn and soybeans,’ said Steve Fourez, who farms both commodities in Illinois. ‘The way the markets are right now, this is a time when you just kind of sit there and to a certain extent go into survival mode and try to get through this situation and hope for better days on down the road.’” (CNBC, 3/5/19)

In Florida, Businesses Paid $303 Million in Tariffs as Uncertainty Rises. “Tariff increases that President Donald Trump’s administration imposed last year on foreign products have cost Florida businesses $303 million, business executives said Friday during an event organized to highlight concerns about the tariffs’ domestic impacts. The extra costs have created strains on some companies and complicated work in businesses from beer production to fish sales, said speakers at a self-styled town hall that’s part of a campaign called Tariffs Hurt the Heartland.” (Florida Times-Union, 3/1/19)

  • “‘Many of us are concerned about how the steel and aluminum tariffs impact our ability to operate and continue to grow jobs in the U.S.,’ Craig Tomeo, senior general manager of Anheuser-Busch’s brewery in Jacksonville, told the gathering that was livestreamed from the Northside plant. … Others at the gathering talked about the effects of tariffs on hotels, restaurants and even boat supplies, and said uncertainty about effects on supply chains for many businesses has added to financial pain.” (Florida Times-Union, 3/1/19)

Tariffs Cost Pennsylvania Steel Company $700,000 Per Day. “The administration’s steel and aluminum tariffs are hitting our state’s manufacturing industry. Although some steel companies are seeing increased profits as tariffs drive up prices, signs point to longer-term trouble for them. NLMK Pennsylvania, a steel company in Mercer County that makes flat-rolled steel, is spending $700,000 every day to deal with tariffs.” (Philadelphia Inquirer, 3/7/19)

Steel Tariffs ‘Disproportionately Hurt’ Ohio as Manufacturers Become ‘Collateral Damage.’ “Ohio is the type of state that steel tariffs are supposed to help, with a smattering of mills that have struggled for decades against brutal competition from China. It’s also a state that could be disproportionately hurt by tariffs because a number of Ohio’s manufacturers use imported steel. Some manufacturers became collateral damage because of retaliatory tariffs on goods they export.” (CNN, 3/7/19)

Montana Outdoor Companies Fear They Will Be ‘Trampled’ By Tariffs. “As Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping bluster over U.S.-China trade policy, the outdoor gear industry worries it might get trampled underfoot. … ‘The outdoor industry got hit on the third round, when we placed a 10 percent tariff on bikes, bike chairs, backpacks, kayaks and ski gloves,’ said Rich Harper of the Outdoor Industry Association. ‘These outdoor products already face high tariffs. It’s 17.6 percent on backpacks from China. It’s 20 percent on sports bags.’” (The Missoulian, 3/10/19)

Small Businesses Face Layoffs, Consolidation If Trade Talks Fail. “With the Game Manufacturers Association trade show in Reno this year, many in the industry are worried that unproductive trade talks could put them in a difficult position. Many of our members are small businesses comprised of four to five employees and can only absorb the higher costs from tariffs for so long. Eventually, they’ll have no choice but to consolidate their staff, raise prices on customers or risk shutting down business altogether.” (Reno Gazette Journal, 3/11/18)

Layoffs Hit Tennessee As Tariffs Cause ‘Global’ Workforce Reduction. “Eastman Chemical Company has confirmed plans to layoff some of its employees, calling it a ‘modest and targeted reduction’ to its workforce. According to spokesperson Betty Payne, the layoffs will be globally felt, not just at its Kingsport facility. The spokesperson said the United States-China trade dispute and the associated economic slowdown in China and Europe are contributing factors.” (WJHL, 3/14/19)

Despite Promises, Trade Deficit Reaches Record High. “International trade deficits were the hobgoblins that Donald Trump, as a populist candidate in 2016, said he would bring to heel…And last week the Commerce Department reported that America’s trade deficit for goods has been increasing, not decreasing, since Trump became president. It reached a record high of $878.7 billion last year, up from $795.7 billion in 2017 and $736.6 billion in 2016.” (USA Today, 3/13/19)

Farm Country Asks President to End Trade War: ‘We Need It Now.’ “Corn and soybean farmer Lorenda Overman from North Carolina has been selling her crops at a loss and delaying paychecks to her workers since the U.S. trade war with China tanked agriculture prices, and her farm’s debt recently topped $2 million. If the Trump administration fails to clinch a deal with Beijing soon to end the trade dispute, she says, her operation may have a hard time staying afloat. ‘We need some stability, we need some action and we need it now,’ Overman, who farms in Goldsboro, said via telephone.” (Reuters, 3/6/19)