Tariffs threat draws opposition

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President Trump’s Twitter threat Sunday to raise tariffs on imports from China drew a sharp response from a business alliance that includes the Home Furnishings Association.

The president appears to be putting pressure on China as trade negotiations continue.

“Doubling down on taxing Americans as a negotiating tactic only makes a bad situation worse,” Tariffs Hurt the Heartland said in a statement issued hours after the president’s tweet Sunday. “Taxing Americans when they buy furniture, tools, electronics and groceries should have nothing to do with reaching this agreement. This isn’t leverage to get a better deal, it’s taking money out of the pockets of hard-working Americans.”

Tariffs Hurt the Heartland consists of Farmers for Free Trade and Americans for Free Trade. HFA belongs to the latter group, as do many other retail business associations.

In his tweet, the president claimed current tariffs on products imported from China “had little impact on product cost” but instead are “mostly borne by China.” The free trade coalition disputes that.

Americans pay, not China

“Americans have been paying the full cost of the trade war, not China,” it wrote. “To be clear, tariffs are taxes that Americans pay, and this sudden increase with little notice will only punish U.S farmers, businesses and consumers.”

The cost to American consumers has come to nearly $70 billion over the last 10 months, the business group said. It urged Congress to intervene.

“Republicans and Democrats in Congress need to step up to meet this threat head on,” the alliance said. “Job-killing tax hikes on their own constituents should be a non-starter, and in the days ahead, lawmakers must act to protect Americans from this threat.”

HFA supports U.S. trade negotiators in their efforts to win significant changes to China’s business practices. At the same time, HFA contends that tariffs extract costs from American businesses and consumers, not from China. A successful agreement would be one that eliminates tariffs.

Doug Clark is content manager and government relations liaison for the Home Furnishings Association. He can be reached at 916-757-1167 or dclark@myhfa.org

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