The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s first effort on trade in 2019 is to tank legislation that would allow President Donald Trump to impose reciprocal tariffs on specific foreign imports, Breitbart News has learned.
Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) is expected to introduce legislation this month, the United States Reciprocal Trade Act, which will give Trump the power to raise tariffs on specific foreign products if those countries’ tariffs are much higher on the same U.S. product.
“This is about the American worker,” Duffy has said about the legislation.
"Instead of letting the rest of the world block us because of their tariffs and then come to our markets and sell and compete against our workers. It’s absolutely unfair." https://t.co/f6rxVwp8Eg
— John Binder 👽 (@JxhnBinder) January 16, 2019
A letter obtained by Breitbart News reveals that the Chamber of Commerce — which favors the U.S. job-killing globalist free trade policies of NAFTA, TPP, and KORUS — is already attempting to tank the reciprocal tariff legislation before it is even introduced.
In a letter to Republican and Democrat Congress members, Chamber of Commerce Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley claims imposing reciprocal tariffs on foreign imports “would undermine U.S. economic growth and job creation.”
The full letter can be read here:
“The bill would effectively give the President unilateral authority to increase U.S. tariffs on imports from any foreign country,” Bradley writes. “The harm to Americans would be immediate: Tariffs are taxes, and they are paid by American families and American businesses.”
Free trade enthusiasts often claim that imposing tariffs on foreign imports are taxes on American citizens. Data collected on Trump’s most recent tariffs on Chinese imports, foreign steel, and aluminum have proven this is not the case.
Research by EconPol Europe reveals that the vast majority, 20.5 percent of the 25 percent tariff, is being paid by China while only 4.5 percent is being paid by the U.S. Tariffs primarily eat into the wide profit margins of multinational corporations, not into the pockets of American consumers.
Breitbart News Economic Editor John Carney most recently noted that despite the free trade apparatus continuing to claim that tariffs are taxes on U.S. consumers, the claim has not shown up in the data.
“If tariffs were acting as taxes on consumers prices would be higher,” Carney wrote. “At the very least, prices on items subject to tariffs would be higher. Yet prices of most items subject to the metals and China tariffs have either declined or advanced on pace with or slower than inflation and wages.”
The Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA), which fights for fair trade to protect American workers and U.S. industry, has endorsed Duffy’s reciprocal tariff legislation, citing that it will weaken the World Trade Organization (WTO).
“This reciprocal tariff bill idea is a good one because the WTO system has locked the United States into treating all trade competitors the same, regardless of whether they have high or low tariffs,” CPA officials said in a statement. “Such a bill would also further the end of the WTO system, potentially.”
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) announced his support for reciprocal tariffs on Fox News’s Lou Dobbs Tonight, saying:
It is outrageous to me, Lou, that China can put 25 percent tariffs on U.S. cars and we put a 2.5 percent tariff on the cars that are coming over internationally here. And we don’t give our president the authority to immediately put tariffs on other countries that put tariffs on us. And if we did that, they wouldn’t abuse us so much. [Emphasis added]
As Breitbart News has extensively reported, between 2001 and 2017, the U.S.-China trade deficit was responsible for the loss of 3.4 million American jobs. The vast majority of jobs lost from free trade with China have been in the U.S. manufacturing sector, making up 74.4 percent of all jobs lost and amounting to 2.5 million U.S. manufacturing jobs lost. This total of jobs lost also includes the 1.3 million American jobs lost since 2008.
One former steel town in West Virginia lost 94 percent of its steel jobs because of NAFTA, with nearly 10,000 workers in the town being displaced from the steel industry.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.