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Concern Builds Over Tariffs as Chamber Urges Congressional Action; Walorski Leading the Way

2018-07-20T14:58:42+00:00July 20th, 2018|

The Indiana Chamber is hearing from an increasing number of Hoosier businesses concerned about the Trump administration’s position on tariffs, which has put the country at odds with six of America’s top seven foreign markets. These countries account for more than half of all U.S. exports.

What started as a just attempt to protect American steel and aluminum from cheap imports has now transformed to a potential global trade war with chilling economic impacts for Indiana and beyond.

Broad tariffs can quickly turn into what amounts to tax increases on Hoosier consumers and businesses. Products used in our homes every day, and the materials consumed to build them, will simply cost more.

The retaliation on U.S. tariffs will lead to lost sales of Indiana products – and ultimately, lost jobs.

Exports from Indiana to Canada, Mexico, China and the European Union total more than $1 billion,

with nearly 65% of that going to our neighbor to the north. Indiana jobs supported by trade total more than 800,000 or nearly one-third of the state’s workforce.

It merits underscoring that $648 million worth of Indiana exports to Canada are targeted for retaliation.

The Great Lakes economic region – comprised of Indiana, seven other states and two Canadian provinces – contributes $232 billion each year to U.S.-Canada trade. Decades of partnership and prosperity are at risk.

Talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have stalled. Indiana’s agriculture sector, among others, is already suffering from the uncertainty.

Our federal government should appropriately use tariffs and other measures to protect American steel companies and their employees. However, it must not recklessly battle allies and put our country – and state’s – economic future in jeopardy.

The Trump administration’s continued pursuit of these damaging tariff policies will not end well for Indiana or the nation. We have encouraged members of Indiana’s congressional delegation to talk with their leadership and support (and even author/sponsor) legislative remedies to what is only going to become a more precarious situation.

We are pleased to report that this week a bipartisan group of 149 members of Congress called on Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross not to put American jobs and economic growth at risk by imposing tariffs on automobiles and automotive parts.

In a letter led by U.S. Reps. Jackie Walorski (IN-02), Terri Sewell (D-Ala.), Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), and Ron Kind (D-Wis.), the members highlighted the economic benefits of the auto industry and warned of negative consequences if the ongoing Section 232 national security investigation into imports of automobiles and automotive parts results in tariffs, quotas or other restrictions.

“We support the Department of Commerce as it seeks a level playing field for our manufacturers and workers in the global marketplace and penalizes bad actors,” the members wrote. “We do not believe that imports of automobiles and automotive parts pose a national security threat. Rather, we believe the imposition of trade restrictions on these products could undermine our economic security.”

Read the full letter here. At a hearing of the Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee, Congresswoman Walorski also shared the concerns of Hoosier farmers who have seen negative effects from tariffs imposed by the U.S. and retaliation from foreign countries.

It’s time to end this fight before too many people suffer from unintended consequences.

Resources: Kevin Brinegar at (317) 264-6882 or email: kbrinegar@indianachamber.com; Greg Ellis at (317) 264-6881 or email: gellis@indianachamber.com