Once again, President Donald Trump is planning to escalate his trade war with China with another round of tariffs. And manufacturers who once refrained from speaking out are now lashing out in protest against him.
Trump’s tariffs have already killed 40,000 jobs in one industry while causing job losses in several more, including the auto industry.
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The tariffs have hit farmers particularly hard as they suffer billions of dollars in losses as China goes elsewhere for agricultural produce.
Farmers finally reached their breaking point when Trump threatened tariffs against Mexico.
Now his new planned tariffs have caused manufacturers to reach their breaking point, according to a new Washington Post report.
“We know firsthand that the additional tariffs will have a significant, negative and long-term impact on American businesses, farmers, families and the U.S. economy,” 661 companies have written in a joint statement protesting the tariffs. “Broadly applied tariffs are not an effective tool to change China’s unfair trade practices. Tariffs are taxes paid directly by U.S. companies — not China.”
The tariffs are so crushing that many manufacturers may be forced to move production, which will be costly and time-consuming. Bra manufacturing company Leading Lady president Mark Corrado warned that his company is already barely making a profit because of the current tariffs. Another round could put him out of business.
“If we are forced to move production from China, it will take a long time to make sure that new factories will make the garment correctly and can get the proper materials,” he said. “The costs may be too great too, as we are barely profitable now.”
Many shoe companies feel the same way as Nike led the industry in signing a statement demanding an end to the tariffs.
And more industries have been joining the protest.
“The tone has changed since the Mexican tariff episode,” Western Washington University economics professor Edward Alden said. “The level of concern in business is going up and the willingness to challenge the president more directly on this issue is increasing.”
Indeed, and even consumers are going to have a beef with Trump’s trade war because prices are going to start rising as businesses can no longer exclude the tariff costs from the overall price tag.
“Companies have tried to shield customers from tariff increases, but that will no longer be possible,” former trade negotiator John Veroneau warned. “To the extent possible, companies are working hard to diversify supply chains, but it’s easier said than done.”
Farmers and manufacturers are clearly turning on Trump and that should be causing Republicans to panic ahead of 2020. Trump inherited a strong economy from Obama that he has been able to tout but that’s going to change in a hurry if he continues to obsess over tariffs and trade wars that will do nothing but hurt it.
China is prepared to wait for the next president to reach a mutual deal. It’s safe to say that most Americans are not prepared to do the same as the pain gets worse and worse. Economists already see increasing signs of recession and any American who believes Trump, when he says China is paying the cost of these tariffs, are in for a rude awakening as prices rise on everyday goods and they lose their job because the company they work for had to cut costs to survive.
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