Coalition of Industry Groups to Fight Trump Tariffs Is Growing

(Bloomberg) -- A coalition of diverse business groups that banded together to oppose President Donald Trump’s proposed tariffs on Chinese products has grown to more than 100.

Organizations representing retail, agriculture, technology, manufacturing and other industries are now working against the tariffs and sent a letter opposing them to the leaders of the House Ways and Means Committee in advance of a hearing on Thursday. That’s up from 45 groups that signed a letter March 18 to the president urging him not to act.

“There’s a sense of urgency on this issue, and the growing coalition is a sign that the business community is united against the proposed tariffs,” said Bethany Aronhalt, a spokeswoman for the National Retail Federation.

The coalition, organized by the federation and the Information Technology Industry Council, say the proposed tariffs on $150 billion in Chinese goods are counterproductive to the goal of holding Beijing accountable for intellectual property theft and other trade practices. They’re seeking to keep specific items off a list of more than 1,300 products targeted for tariffs -- and trying collectively to keep levies from being imposed at all.

The coalition’s letter to the Ways and Means Committee encourages Congress to work with the Trump administration to “develop and execute a strategic policy to effectively address the longstanding problems in China” with clearly defined objectives, deadlines and immediate negotiations.

“Congress must ensure that hardworking families in the United States are not forced to pay the price for China’s bad behavior,” the coalition said in the letter.

The industry groups warn that China’s promised retaliation with levies on agricultural products and other goods will ultimately be passed along to consumers. That would harm the American economy, cost jobs and erase benefits from the tax overhaul last year, the coalition said.

“Everyone loses in a trade war,” the coalition added.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.