Former President Donald Trump, the Republican presidential primary front-runner, is promising to apply across-the-board tariffs on all foreign imports to protect Americans’ jobs and wages.
During a campaign speech in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, Trump told Republican primary voters that, as president, he would impose United States tariffs on all foreign imports and get Congress to finally pass former Rep. Sean Duffy’s (R-WI) Reciprocal Trade Act.
“To protect New Hampshire workers and families, I will impose an across-the-board tariff on foreign-made goods,” Trump said:
I will also pass the Trump Reciprocal Trade Act. If China or any other country makes us pay a 100 or 200 percent tariff, we will make them pay a reciprocal tariff of 100 or 200 percent right back. And as taxes on foreign countries go up, taxes on American workers, families, and small businesses will come down, and down dramatically. [Emphasis added]
In August, Trump suggested he would impose 10 percent tariffs on all foreign imports — a policy blasted by President Joe Biden.
Trump’s economic nationalist agenda is significant as it sets his campaign apart from the corporate special interests that are ingrained in the Republican Party.
In 2019, for instance, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce fought to ensure the Reciprocal Trade Act was never introduced in Congress. At the time, polls showed that conservatives backed reciprocal tariffs on foreign imports by more than 90 percent.
Free trade, despite having many Republicans’ backing, is increasingly opposed by the majority of GOP voters. A New York Times/Siena College from July found that nearly 7 in 10 GOP presidential primary voters said the U.S. has “lost out from increased trade because it has cost jobs.”
Opposition to free trade is even higher among white working class GOP voters, who said by a 73 percent majority that increased trade costs American jobs while 70 percent of non-college-educated, non-white working class GOP voters said the same.
Earlier this year, former U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer issued a memo calling on Republicans to shape a trade policy centered around boosting jobs and wages for American workers.
“… we must insist that the countries running large, persistent surpluses with us open their markets to our products and threaten otherwise to limit their access to America,” Lighthizer writes. “Buttressing these efforts to promote fairer trade, we also need a policy of carefully calculated tariffs on most imports to force trade overall into balance.”
Research from the Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) finds that imposing 15 percent tariffs on foreign imports overall, with 35 percent tariffs on products in vital supply chains, would create about 10 million American jobs and generate over $600 billion in new revenue.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter here.