Col­lat­eral Dam­age

Amer­i­can com­pa­nies and con­sumers are the sac­ri­fi­cial lamb in Trump’s trade war

Beijing Review - - BUSINESS - By Hu Zhoumeng

in­tro­duced in July that in­clude Chi­nese com­po­nents for tele­vi­sion and video equip­ment, El­e­ment TV Co., a tele­vi­sion man­u­fac­turer based in South Carolina, an­nounced that it was lay­ing off 126 work­ers, the vast ma­jor­ity of its em­ploy­ees, leav­ing a work­force of only eight peo­ple to run its plant.

In­creas­ing trade ten­sions are also plagu­ing steel and alu­minum con­sumers in the coun­try. Trump’s move to im­pose tar­iffs on steel and alu­minum is meant to pro­tect an in­dus­try that em­ploys about 140,000 Amer­i­cans at home. Yet the tar­iffs them­selves hurt a far larger group of U.S. work­ers—the 6.5 mil­lion in in­dus­tries that rely on steel and alu­minum—rang­ing from au­tomak­ers and air­craft man­u­fac­tur­ers to the sup­pli­ers of build­ing ma­te­ri­als.

In early March, the Beer In­sti­tute, an in­dus­try trade group, pre­dicted that the 10-per­cent tar­iff on im­ported alu­minum would lead to the loss of 20,300 jobs at bars, brew­eries and along the in­dus­trial chain in be­tween. Tar­iffs are bit­ing big com­pa­nies too, with Gen­eral Mo­tors, Whirlpool and Ford all per­form­ing worse than ex­pected in the sec­ond quar­ter of this year.

The in­creas­ing bur­den on man­u­fac­tur­ers will even­tu­ally trans­late into higher prices for Amer­i­can con­sumers, es­pe­cially those with lower in­comes. More­over, the United States is start­ing to find the re­tal­i­a­tion of for­eign govern­ments par­tic­u­larly trou­ble­some.

China has an­nounced tar­iffs pri­mar­ily fo­cused on agri­cul­tural goods im­ported from the United States. Panic has spread among U.S. farm­ers, es­pe­cially the 300,000 in soy­bean pro­duc­tion, who fear that they

If Trump con­tin­ues his tar­iff game, then more busi­nesses in the United States are likely to be­come caught in the cross­fire of the en­su­ing trade con­flicts

Rick Kim­berly, a farmer in Des Moines, Iowa, says on March 27 that he is con­sid­er­ing ad­just­ing his farm’s soy­bean acreage in the wake of the China-u.s. trade war

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