Business groups urge U.S., China to settle trade dispute as Beijing hits back with tariffs

WASHINGTON – U.S. trade analysts and business groups urged the Trump administration on Tuesday to resolve its differences with China as the ongoing trade dispute between the world’s two most powerful economies showed no signs of abating.

The U.S. slapped a new round of tariffs Monday on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, including fish and other foods, handbags, luggage and wood products used in construction. The tariffs, which take effect next Monday, will initially be set at a rate of 10 percent but will jump to 25 percent in January.

China hit back on Tuesday, levying tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. products. The Chinese had warned earlier that the U.S. goods that would be impacted by new tariffs would include coffee, honey and industrial chemicals.

U.S. reaction to the tit-for-tat trade dispute was mostly negative, with many analysts warning that the tariffs would hurt the economy and disproportionately hit the pockets of low- and middle-income Americans.

A sampling of their comments: 

‘Did not heed the numerous warnings’

“(Monday’s) decision makes clear that the administration did not heed the numerous warnings from American consumers and businesses about rising costs and lost jobs on Main Street, in factories, and on farms and ranches across the country.” – Thomas J. Donohue, president and chief executive officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business organization

‘Now is the time for talks’

“No one wins in a trade war, and manufacturing workers are hopeful the administration’s approach will quickly yield results. Now is the time for talks—not just tariffs—and manufacturers have laid out a blueprint to reset the U.S.-China commercial relationship that will result in ending China’s unfair and anti-competitive behavior.” – Jay Timmons, president and chief executive officers of the National Association of Manufacturers, which represents small and large manufacturers in all 50 states

‘America has the leverage’

“Strong trade enforcement against China’s persistent violations of trade laws, including the theft of American trade secrets, is long overdue. These tariffs should compel China to finally address unfair trade practices. America has the leverage in this economic relationship, and it’s about time we use it to defend our workers and businesses who can compete with anyone on a truly level playing field.” – Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, representing America’s leading manufacturers and steelworkers

‘Trade policy risks isolating the U.S.’

“Continuing to rely on tariffs as the basis of our trade policy risks isolating the U.S. from world trade just at a time when we need to be expanding our exports and our commercial relationships with countries around the world.” – Rufus Yerxa, president of the National Foreign Trade Council, a trade group representing more than 300 companies

‘Economic and financial uncertainty’

“Tariffs are a tax on the American people. They are inherently inflationary. They will increase input costs for American manufacturers. They will disproportionately impact lower-income Americans. They will reduce choice across the board. They will cause supply-chain disruptions in the United States but also throughout all of Asia, including many of our allied countries. And the tariffs will increase economic and financial uncertainty.” – Craig Allen, president of the U.S.-China Business Council, which represents 200 American companies that do business with China

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