More than 660 U.S. companies and trade associations have sent a letter to President Donald Trump begging him to drop his tariffs on Chinese parts and products, warning that his trade war is hurting the economy, jobs and U.S. consumers.
The letter — signed by retailers including Costo, Walmart and Target, and manufacturers and tech operations — is the latest drive in the mounting opposition to Trump’s trade war from the business sector, which the tariffs are meant to protect.
Trump earlier this week insulted an official of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce who raised some of the same issues in a CNBC interview He questioned the business organization’s patriotism, saying it was worrying more about companies “than the country.”
The letter, sent Thursday, reminded Trump — despite his frequent insistence otherwise — that “tariffs are taxes paid directly by U.S. companies,” not China. Much of those increased costs are passed along to American consumers.
Trump has already increased tariffs from 10% to 25% on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. The companies cited a Trade Partnership Worldwide study that said Trump’s next round of threatened 25% tariffs on an additional $300 billion worth of Chinese goods would cost 2 million American jobs and add more than $2,000 in additional costs for the average American family of four.
The trade war is already costing American companies and consumers an estimated $3 billion a month, according to a recent study, on top of lost efficiencies as companies scramble to find substitutes for Chinese parts or move operations.
“We know firsthand that the additional tariffs will have a significant, negative, and long-term impact on American businesses, farmers, families, and the US economy,” the companies said in the letter, which was first reported by CNN. “An escalated trade war is not in the country’s best interest, and both sides will lose.”
The businesses urged Trump to “negotiate a strong deal with China” to address “unfair competitive trading, including intellectual property violations,” but to do so “without taxing Americans,” referring to the passing along of tariff costs.
The letter is part of a campaign against the trade war by a business coalition called Tariffs Hurt the Heartland (which produced the video at top as part of its campaign). The U.S. trade representative’s office is holding public hearings on Trump’s next round of tariffs on Monday.
Trump is now claiming that China is “desperate” to made a trade deal with the U.S. “It’s me right now that’s holding up the deal,” he said. “We had a deal with China, and unless they go back to that deal I have no interest.”
A spokesman for China’s Commerce Ministry was quoted Thursday by The Associated Press as saying: “If the U.S. wants to force China to yield through exerting maximum unilateral pressure, it will absolutely not succeed.”