Trade and Import
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The Economists’ Smoot-Hawley Tariff Protest of 1930
We are convinced that increased protective duties would be a mistake. They would operate, in general, to increase the prices which domestic consumers would have to pay. By raising prices they would encourage concerns with higher costs to undertake production, thus compelling the consumer to subsidize waste and inefficiency in industry. First, as consumers they would have to pay still higher prices for the products, made of textiles, chemicals, iron, and steel, which they buy. Second, as producers, their ability to sell their products would be further restricted by the barriers placed in the way of foreigners who wished to sell manufactured goods to us.Our export trade, in general, would suffer. Countries can not permanently buy from us unless they are permitted to sell to us, and the more we restrict the importation of goods from them by means of ever higher tariffs the more we reduce the possibility of our exporting to them There are few more ironical spectacles than that of the American Government as it seeks, on the one hand, to promote exports… while, on the other hand, by increasing tariffs it makes exportation ever more difficult. A tariff war does not furnish good soil for the growth of world peace.
George Washington's Farewell Address
In contemplating the causes which may disturb our Union…parties by geographical discrimination [can] acquire influence within particular districts, misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts, [and] tend to render alien to each other those who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests. They are likely [to] become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion. This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, and is truly their worst enemy. This leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism [as] the disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty. It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another. The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence, frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of nations, has been the victim.
Modernization of NAFTA with Canada and Mexico
NAFTA was negotiated more than 25 years ago, and, while our economy and U.S. businesses have changed considerably over that period, NAFTA has not. The United States seeks to support higher-paying jobs in the United States and to grow the U.S. economy by improving U.S. opportunities under NAFTA.
China Import Tariffs and Sect. 301 Investigation of Technology Transfer, IP, etc.
The United States is a world leader in research-and-development-intensive, high-technology goods. Violations of intellectual property rights and other unfair technology transfers potentially threaten United States firms by undermining their ability to compete fairly in the global market. China has implemented laws, policies, and practices and has taken actions related to intellectual property, innovation, and technology that may encourage or require the transfer of American technology and intellectual property to enterprises in China or that may otherwise negatively affect American economic interests. These laws, policies, practices, and actions may inhibit United States exports, deprive United States citizens of fair remuneration for their innovations, divert American jobs to workers in China, contribute to our trade deficit with China, and otherwise undermine American manufacturing, services, and innovation.
The Effects of Tariffs on Agricultural and Rural Communities
Agriculture is facing the perfect storm - trade uncertainties, decade lows in farm income, agricultural labor shortages and the uncompleted 2018 Farm Bill. It is quickly becoming more than we can handle. The current tariffs, continuing back-and-forth retaliatory actions and trade uncertainties are hitting American agriculture from all sides and are causing us to lose our markets. All commodities are being impacted, but in Minnesota we are hearing the most from our members that are growing soybeans and raising pigs. Many decisions in farming are not made week by week. We have to make decisions a long time before our crops are planted, much less harvested. Unlike other industries, it is nearly impossible to quickly adjust to factors outside of our control. We can manage some of our risks through crop insurance and other risk management tools. The impact tariffs are having on prices and on our farms is what is keeping farmers up at night.
Auto Import Impacts on U.S. National Security
America does not go to war in a Ford Fiesta. There is no support for the proposition that imports of cars, trucks, SUVs and auto parts implicate national security concerns of the United States. To the contrary, the greatest threat at this time is the possibility the Administration will impose duties on imports in connection with this investigation. Such duties would raise prices for American consumers, limit their choices, and suppress sales and U.S. production of vehicles. Rather than creating jobs, these tariffs would result in the loss of hundreds of thousands of American jobs producing and selling cars, SUVs, trucks and auto parts. Any retaliatory tariffs and copy-cat protection based on national-security justifications would cost hundreds of thousands more jobs both inside and outside the sector.
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