Trade war over Trump’s tariffs on Chinese products already hitting Utah hard, Rep. John Curtis says


SALT LAKE CITY — Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, said during a congressional hearing Wednesday on China’s trade practices that the looming trade war over tariffs ordered by President Donald Trump is hitting Utah companies hard.

“The worry in Utah is the path is littered with dead companies along the way,” Curtis said, citing the unpredictability of the impact of imposing a list of tariffs announced Tuesday on $200 billion in goods from China.

China is expected to retaliate for the tariffs, a 10 percent assessment on a wide range of imports including fruits, rice, shrimp, frozen pork, baseball gloves, quartz, electric vehicle batteries, machetes, birds eggs, pet food and cigarettes.

“Where does this end?” Curtis asked the expert witnesses testifying before members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee for a hearing on “China’s predatory Trade and Investment Strategy.”

The answers were not encouraging.

“This reminds me of two 8-year-olds having a staring contest waiting to see who’s going to blink first,” said William Reinsch, who holds the Scholl Chair in International Business at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Trump “has only one tactic, which is escalate (and) up the ante,” Reinsch said, making him skeptical that there will be successful negotiations to stop the tariffs during the two-month review process, which includes hearings in August.

“I’m very gloomy that where this goes is in the end, all trade is subject to punishing tariffs and there’s going to be a lot of collateral damage on both sides,” the former commerce undersecretary in President Bill Clinton’s administration said.

Derek Scissors, a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, said the tariffs are not inconsistent with the president’s committment to reducing the nation’s trade deficit with China.

“It’s going to take some work to get the trade deficit under control, which means we may get a series of 10 percent tariffs applied to all Chinese goods for a while,” Scissors said. “But that’s where it’s going to end.”

Curtis told the Deseret News after the hearing the tariffs already are having real-life consequences in Utah, unlike the analogy of children trying to stare each other down raised in the hearing.

“We have real people and real businesses that this is hurting. It’s a major threat to many Utah businesses,” the 3rd Congressional District representative said. “I don’t think we should take that lightly.”

Curtis said he is co-sponsoring legislation in the House similar to a nonbinding measure calling for Congress to have …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Business News


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