Trade fight leads to jump in tariff payments, says pro-trade group

Trade fight leads to jump in tariff payments, says pro-trade group
© Getty Images

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden, Sanders lead field in Iowa poll The Memo: Cohen fans flames around Trump Memo Comey used to brief Trump on dossier released: report MORE’s trade war has led to a 45 percent uptick in the amount of tariffs paid by importers in August, according to a pro-trade advocacy group.

According to the group, U.S. importers had to shell out $1.4 billion more for tariffs in August than they did last August, a result of new tariffs on steel and aluminum from major trade partners, and a slew of Chinese imports.

Those costs, according to the group, were passed on to businesses and consumers around the country.

The data was compiled by The Trade Partnership, a consultancy, at the behest of a wide coalition of business groups advocating against the Trump tariffs called Tariffs Hurt the Heartland.

ADVERTISEMENT

“These tariffs are taxes on American businesses and consumers,” said Angela Hofmann, a spokesperson for the group.

“They aren’t paid by other countries. They are paid here at home. What this data shows is that we are already seeing a steep increase both nationally and at the state level in the tariff costs businesses and consumers are paying.

The numbers are set to increase, she noted, given a set of new tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese goods that went into effect in late September.

The group broke down the data by state for maximum political impact.

In Pennsylvania, businesses paid out $45 million more last August in comparison to August 2017, a 55 percent increase. In Michigan, tariffs paid tripled from last August, reaching $178 million.

Steel tariffs alone cost American companies $1.5 billion in total tariff costs in August.

Trump argues that the tariffs will ultimately lead U.S. trade partners to reach better trade deals, which will reduce tariffs in the future. He successfully renegotiated the North American Free Trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, and is in talks for a new trade deal with the European Union. Talks with China, on the other hand, have reached an impasse.

Last week, Trump’s top economic advisor Larry Kudlow defended the president’s approach to trade.

“Don’t blame Trump, blame the system he inherited, which was essentially broken,” he said.