Open Letter To President Donald J. Trump On Tariffs

Congratulations on fending off efforts to impose new taxes on American businesses and consumers that import goods from China. You have not received enough credit in the mainstream media for putting a mutually destructive trade war on hold.

The surest way to lose a trade war is to impose tariffs that drive up costs for U.S. manufacturers and agricultural producers, while diverting resources away from our most competitive companies. Tariff hikes on imports from China would have undermined your administration’s efforts to cut taxes and regulations.

In contrast, the surest way your administration can win at trade is to continue working with Congress to implement pro-growth economic reforms, while making sure Americans have access to the best-made goods and services from around the world.

NTU recently released a letter from more than 1,100 economists, including 15 Nobel laureates, explaining why increased tariffs would be a mistake. But you don’t have to be an economist to see that the world’s most prosperous countries are those that are most open to international trade.

Just last week, dozens of U.S. companies and trade associations lined up to testify on the costs new tariffs would have inflicted on Americans. Here are some of the Americans who benefited from your decision not to impose self-destructive tariffs:

  • “We believe the sweeping imposition of a high tariff will have a detrimental impact on many US manufacturers and products.” - National Marine Manufacturers Association

  • “Many patients will be significantly and negatively impacted if the proposed list of products imported from China under the USTRs Section 301 action is not modified. Any increase in prices would immediately go to the bottom line, and consumers would need to pay these increases in addition to the current costs of the medication. As a result, many patients would either forego their medication entirely, or space out the intervals, or cut down on the number of medications they take.” - MEDISCA Inc.

  • “Seventy percent  of the value of imported clothing remains here in the United States-even if the clothing is manufactured outside of the United States. The Administration should foster and facilitate, not discourage the growth of these jobs.” - U.S. Fashion Industry Association

  • “Tariffs are hidden, regressive taxes that U.S. businesses and consumers ultimately pay, in the form of higher product prices.” - National Retail Federation

  • “By reducing the volume of Roku TVs sold in the United States, the tariff could reduce Roku’s opportunity to continue to innovate and grow in order to maintain U.S. leadership in an important emerging technology.” - Roku, Inc.

  • “In short, engagement with NAM members indicates that imposition of tariffs will force manufacturers of final products in the United States using affected inputs to make an unpalatable choice: raise prices on U.S. consumers and likely lose sales, lay off workers to cut costs or shift production of those final products outside of the United States.” - National Association of Manufacturers

  • "These tariffs, if imposed, would increase the costs and decrease the availability of the necessary equipment and inputs for building and operating chemicals plants in the United States, potentially resulting in these plants being constructed elsewhere." - American Chemistry Council

  • “Simply stated, if implemented, the tariffs will put the company at such a disadvantage domestically as to make its continued presence in the US untenable.” - JST Power Equipment

  • "Trade actions that trigger retaliation threaten rural jobs and fall disproportionately on agriculture, with immediate adverse effects that greatly outweigh benefits.” - National Association of State Departments of Agriculture

  • “We thank you for your time and strongly request not to impose these duties directly on the jobs of American workers.” - TECO-Westinghouse Motor Company

  • “A 25 percent tariff on tapered roller bearings ... will only result in our spend being transferred to Eastern Europe, or worse our business being taken by an Italian competitor.” Oerlikon Fairfield

  • "Adding a tax to the basic tools that we use to enhance ‘Made in USA’ will add cost to the U.S manufacturing base, which will raise prices throughout the supply chain, hurt U.S. consumers, and hurt the growth of U.S. manufacturing.” - American Apparel and Footwear Association

  • “The escalation of trade tensions with China could result in harm to all our member companies, member farms, their workers, and their consumers. The impact of a trade war and tariffs would harm businesses, workers, farmers and consumers throughout the United States and across industry sectors. Tariffs hurt the economy as a whole as well as jobs and consumers in every state. Everyone loses in a trade war.” Comment from 103 trade associations.

New tariffs, even aside from any retaliatory actions from China, would have harmed American workers, consumers, and taxpayers. We urge you to continue to refrain from imposing self-destructive trade barriers that would undermine your efforts to reduce the burden of excessive taxes and regulations on Americans.