The numbers are difficult to imagine. The Trump administration is proposing that $200 billion of Chinese goods entering the United States be subject to tariffs of up to 25 percent and involve more than 6,000 different products.
CGTN’s Daniel Ryntjes reports.
One of the overarching trade goals of Donald Trump is to revive domestic manufacturing. But during six days of hearings on the proposals, the executives at businesses large and small are explaining to trade officials that the reality is that these proposed tariffs would punish American consumers and hurt U.S. competitiveness.
Longkou Keda Chemical USA specializes in a selling a product that kills bacteria in hot water. One of the uses is in hot tubs. And the chemical is also good for skin sensitivity.
Company President Joseph Gruchacz said, “Twenty-five percent of the product sold across America is produced domestically, the other 75% is sourced from China.” He doesn’t think investors would be interested in building a plant in the United States.
“It would take several years to build a chemical plant in the U.S. with all the permits needed and everything else,” he said, adding that volumes are insufficient to “attract investors in a capital-intensive chemical plant.”
The irony here is that Mr. Gruchacz fully supports President Trump’s goal of leveling the playing field by equalizing tariffs and lowering barriers with major trading partners, including China, Europe, Japan and South Korea.
But on an individual basis, the tariff proposals could hurt many of those businesses.
Display Supply & Lighting, Inc. makes L.E.D.s specifically for trade shows. It designs the lights and controls the manufacturing process in China.
Rob Cohen, the firm’s Vice President, said Chinese suppliers have made it clear that they won’t absorb the extra costs.
They are telling him the tariffs are “our problem as Americans. It’s our government that’s imposing this on us, which essentially makes the duty or tariff a tax on the American workers and their families.” Some of the company bosses also say that their competitors may be in the process of setting up facilities in Mexico and Canada, with the intent of evading future tariffs when they import products into the United States.
That approach carries legal risks, but it illustrates the range of potential consequences in ramping up this tariff war.