Largest U.S. Business Group Launches Campaign Against Trump’s Tariffs

Pablo Martinez MonsivaisAP Images

The latest criticism of President Trump’s tariffs, which have drawn ire from both sides of the political spectrum as well as from the business world, comes from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The largest U.S. business lobby launched a campaign against Trump’s trade maneuvers on Monday, Reuters first reported.

The announcement marks the fraying relations between the White House and the Chamber, which has been a historic ally to the Republican Party.

“The administration is threatening to undermine the economic progress it worked so hard to achieve,” said Chamber President Tom Donohue to Reuters. “We should seek free and fair trade, but this is just not the way to do it.”

The lobby cautions that Trump is stoking an international trade war that could harm those the president claims to protect – U.S. customers, farmers, and businesses.

“Half of all U.S. manufacturing jobs depend on exports, one in three acres on American farms is planted for international sales, and 49 out of every 50 U.S. companies that ship to other countries are small businesses,” the Chamber’s website states.

The anti-tariff push titled “Trade Works. Tariffs Don’t.” details the monetary repercussions in individual states. The negative impact varies from $25 million for Delaware to around $6 billion for states such as California and Louisiana.

The Chamber also singled out vulnerable export goods from states that rode Trump to his 2016 presidential win. As Yahoo reported, these include $1 billion in Wisconsin cheese, toilet paper, and ginseng; $2.3 billion in steel and aluminum from Michigan; and $1.7 billion in Pennsylvania steel, iron and coffee.

Much of this economic fallout stems from trading partners’ retaliation.

On Sunday, Canada levied duties on $12.6 billion of American exports. Mexico is to tax U.S. pork, and the EU threatened nearly $300 billion in counter-measures against tariffs on the car industry.

China is expected to slap a 25 percent tariff on soybeans in July, in a year when the crop is to exceed corn production for the first time in over three decades.

The financial markets have also reflected the rising fears of a trade war, opening in the red earlier on Monday.

Less than a week before the U.S. imposes duties on over $30 billion of Chinese imports, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that the U.S. economy – the world’s largest – is strong enough to shoulder any blowback.

“So I think all these claims about the sky is falling are at least premature and probably quite inaccurate,” Ross said on CNBC.