Business leaders are warning that the trade tariff policies implemented by the Trump administration are likely to trigger a global trade war that will hit U.S. industries and consumers hard.
The White House has pledged to implement tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese products on Friday, and the Chinese government said this week it has no choice but to retaliate.
“China will never fire the first shot,” Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said this week. “However, if the United States adopts taxation measures, China will be forced to fight back to defend the core interests of the nation and the interests of the people.”
The administration’s tariffs on foreign goods have already led to retaliatory duties from Canada, the European Union and other allies. Trump has insisted that the tariffs are necessary to balance trade deficits. Trump famously tweeted earlier this year that trade wars are “good and easy to win.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce this week used a state-by-state analysis to try to show the White House how retaliatory tariffs will impact U.S. exports.
“The administration is threatening to undermine the economic progress it worked so hard to achieve,” said Chamber President Tom Donohue in a statement to Reuters. “We should seek free and fair trade, but this is just not the way to do it.”
Republican lawmakers are equally fed up with the president’s tariffs and say they have implored Trump to hear them out to no avail. “Individual senators have met with the president, including me,” said Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee. “And there’s nobody for this. [Trump] is a protectionist who has his policy wrapped around the rear axle of a pickup. And it’s hard to get out.”