Indiana Businesses Sound Alarm On Trump Tariffs

Monday, July 23, 2018 at 11:30 AM

By Mary Kuhlman, Indiana News Service

The Trump administration recently slapped tariffs onto steel and aluminum from Canada, Mexico and the European Union.

(Indianapolis, Ind.) - Some Indiana business leaders are sounding the alarm over President Donald Trump's tariff threats. 

In a move the White House says will protect U.S. aluminum and steel from cheap imports, the administration slapped tariffs onto steel and aluminum from Canada, Mexico and the European Union. 

And late last week, Trump said he's ready to impose trade tariffs on all $500 billion worth of Chinese imports, on top of the tariffs levied on $34 billion of Chinese goods. 

Kevin Brinegar, president and CEO of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, says retaliation for the U.S. tariffs is already being felt here at home. 

"Orders are down," he points out. "Soybean prices here in the state of Indiana are at a 10-year low. And there's a buzz in the business community about the impact that is starting to occur and that will only accelerate if these tariffs are allowed."

If orders and prices for exported goods continue to fall, Brinegar is fearful Indiana jobs will be lost, and a recession could be triggered. 

Canada has already imposed matching retaliatory tariffs on the U.S., and China imposed a 25 percent tax on hundreds of U.S. imports, including soybeans.

Brinegar says simply put, tariffs are taxes that can raise the price of any number of products used by Indiana residents and businesses.

"We need to be extremely careful when and how those are imposed," he stresses. "This approach that's being taken is too broad, it's too all-encompassing, and it has real potential to hurt our economy."

Brinegar says the Indiana Chamber of Commerce has sent letters to the state's congressional delegation sharing these views and warning of the trade war's negative consequences.

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