Tariffs hurt American workers

As a proud Republican and American, I was happy to the see the United States elect a candidate that promised to put America First. Our President has done just that in his first year by growing our economy and creating thousands of new jobs. However, a recent decision may do just the opposite by implementing what potentially could be one of the greatest obstacles American workers have faced in many years.

The Trump administration approved tariffs on imported large residential machines in response to Whirlpool’s requests for relief among its competitors Samsung and LG Electronics. At first glance, tariffs on imported goods might appear as a stepping-stone in our America First objective. However, what these tariffs hide so well is that they will decrease employment, raise prices, hinder innovation and potentially isolate America from the rest of the world. 

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In Newberry, South Carolina, Samsung has converted an abandoned manufacturing facility into an innovative, high-tech washing machine manufacturing plant. Samsung has already committed to invest $400 million and will create 1,000 jobs, a whopping 600 more offered by the previous company in control of the plant. Similarly, LG Electronics is looking to build a $250 million plant in Clarksville, Tenn., that will create 600 new jobs. However, with the implementation of import tariffs, Samsung and LG will face unsurmountable high costs of production. This could force them to move to another country, taking with them millions of dollars in investment and thousands of jobs.

In addition to the loss of jobs and the decrease in investment, these tariffs will be responsible for an increase in prices that will be felt by consumers across the United States, as more often than not, higher tariffs mean higher prices.  In fact, they will essentially add a new tax on the sales of washing machine products.

If we want to provide affordable prices for the American people, we need to have fair and open competition, not an isolated, tariff-filled economy. The Wall Street Journal reported that these tariffs have already sparked negative reactions across the globe, a cautionary warning for our country to decrease tariffs.  As a reaction to these new rates, 11 Pacific Rim nations have already created a new commercial block that excluded the United States. With future trading deals on the near horizon, America has to be careful not to start trade wars that will isolate America even further. A restricted trade economy will be detrimental to the growth of our people and the development of our companies. That is why we need to make sure that these tariffs are not implemented.

In the long term, restrictive trade policies will undermine a competitive culture, curbing the incentive for companies to innovate and produce new products. Domestic companies are more than capable of stepping up its standards without being handheld by the federal government. At the end of the day, American manufacturing cannot be built on unfair advantages that curb competition and innovation. That is not how America became the most powerful economy in the world and that is not how it will remain an open, innovative and developed market that serves as an example to all other countries.

Chad Connelly is the former Chairman of the South Carolina GOP, former RNC Faith Outreach Director, and former candidate for Congress.