More than 60 U.S. industry groups on Wednesday launched a coalition to fight against President Trump’s trade tariffs.  The group called Americans for Free Trade, comes after the president has implemented 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods, mostly industrial machinery and intermediate electronics parts such as semiconductors.

A pending $200 billion list would extend further into consumer goods and a threat of an additional $267 billion, which would basically cover every Chinese export to the United States.  China, has in turn, threatened retaliation, which could include action against U.S. companies operating in China.

The business coalition includes groups representing some of the U.S. largest companies, including the American Petroleum Institute, which represents the largest refiners such as Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corp., as well as the Retail Industry Leaders association, which represents such companies as Target and Autozone.

“There has been a lot of work that has been going on over the last eight months to try to persuade the president and the administration that tariffs are not going to work,” said Dean Garfield, chief executive of the Information Technology Industry Council. whose members include Microsoft, Google, and Apple. “Our view is that it is not too late,” Garfield said.

Gary Shapiro, head of the Consumer Technology Association, whose members include IBM and Facebook, warned that some of his members are considering layoffs.

Steve Pasierb, head of the Toy Association, whose members include Mattel, Hasbro, and Barnes & Noble, said members of Congress were slow to be persuaded they needed to be concerned.  “It’s been kind of slow build that get worse and worse and worse.  I don’t think anybody in D.C. saw this coming.” Pasierb said.

The coalition grew out of weekly meetings featuring industries organized by the National Retail Federation, whose members include Amazon, Macy’s and Walmart.

The coalition will target Republican members of Congress in five states – Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, and Tennessee.  While not engaging in electioneering ahead of the November 6 mid-term elections, where control of Congress is at stake, it will urge constituents to discuss the trade issue with lawmakers.  The group plans to expand that effort to a dozen states by the end of the year.

The coalition hopes to push Republicans lawmakers to press President Trump to abandon tariffs by convincing him that his trade policy could undo his tax and deregulation push.

 

 

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