New cam­paign to high­light how tar­iffs hurt heart­land

USA TODAY International Edition - - MONEY - Michael Collins USA TO­DAY

WASH­ING­TON – Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump is about to get an ear­ful from Amer­i­cans hurt by tar­iffs.

More than 80 trade as­so­ci­a­tions rep­re­sent­ing thou­sands of busi­nesses and work­ers an­nounced Wed­nes­day they are form­ing a coali­tion called Amer­i­cans for Free Trade and join­ing with agri­cul­ture groups to launch a mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar cam­paign against tar­iffs. Called Tar­iffs Hurt the Heart­land, the cam­paign will high­light the neg­a­tive im­pact of tar­iffs on busi­nesses and the ben­e­fits of in­ter­na­tional trade to the U.S. econ­omy.

“Ev­ery sec­tor of the U.S. econ­omy stands to lose in a trade war,” said Matthew Shay, pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of the Na­tional Re­tail Fed­er­a­tion. “The stakes couldn’t be higher for Amer­i­can fam­i­lies, busi­nesses, farm­ers and work­ers.”

The anti-tar­iff cam­paign comes as the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is prepar­ing to im­pose new du­ties on an­other $200 bil­lion in im­ports from China as part of a broader clash be­tween Wash­ing­ton and Bei­jing.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion has levied tar­iffs on $50 bil­lion of Chi­nese goods amid com­plaints that China en­gages in un­fair trade prac­tices, in­clud­ing the theft of U.S. tech­nol­ogy and in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty. China has re­tal­i­ated with tar­iffs on an equal amount of U.S. prod­ucts.

The trade as­so­ci­a­tions launch­ing the anti-tar­iff cam­paign rep­re­sent thou­sands of Amer­i­can work­ers po­ten­tially af­fected by the trade war, in­clud­ing toy mak­ers, fash­ion de­sign­ers, gro­cers, whiskey dis­tillers, the petroleum in­dus­try and oth­ers.

The cam­paign in­cludes events in con­gres­sional dis­tricts across the coun­try fea­tur­ing farm­ers, busi­ness own­ers and fac­tory work­ers to dis­cuss how tar­iffs are directly hurt­ing them. Events are planned next week in Chicago, Penn­syl­va­nia, Ohio and Nashville, Ten­nessee.

In ad­di­tion, the groups will buy ads on TV, ra­dio and on­line, set up a rapidresponse “war room” to fact-check and re­spond to tar­iff an­nounce­ments, launch a dig­i­tal me­dia cam­paign ex­plain­ing the eco­nomic harm of tar­iffs and write op-eds and blog posts from Amer­i­cans bear­ing the brunt of tar­iffs.

The cam­paign in­cludes a ge­o­graph­i­cally search­able map that al­lows users to find sto­ries of job losses, de­ferred in­vest­ments, higher prices and other neg­a­tive con­se­quences for farm­ers and busi­nesses in com­mu­ni­ties across the coun­try im­pacted by tar­iffs.

“While we agree that there are is­sues that need to be ad­dressed with key trad­ing part­ners, tar­iffs are the wrong ap­proach to bring about mean­ing­ful change,” the groups wrote in a let­ter Wed­nes­day to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and House Mi­nor­ity Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

The cam­paign will high­light the neg­a­tive im­pact tar­iffs have on U.S. farms and busi­nesses. COLLEEN KOT­TKE

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