WASHINGTON — This morning, two economists from the Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) will testify in a U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) hearing on how tariffs benefit American workers, domestic producers, and the U.S. economy. The USITC hearings will focus specifically on the Section 232 tariffs on specific industries, and the Section 301 tariffs on selected imports from China. In their testimony, CPA economists Jeff Ferry and Amanda Mayoral will describe how tariffs benefit U.S. national security and the U.S. economy, and why they should be maintained. Read Ferry’s and Mayoral’s prepared testimony here.
Additionally, CPA Trade Counsel Charles Benoit, along with Ferry and Mayoral, filed a pre-hearing brief to the USITC that documents how CPA members have benefited from the 301 and 232 tariffs in particular. The pre-hearing brief details 12 separate sections outlining the benefits of the 201 tariffs on specific sectors. Read it in full here.
The hearings are part of an USITC investigation into the impact of the Section 232 tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum and the Section 301 tariffs on certain imports from China. The USITC has invited a wide range of experts from industry, trade associations, and academia to offer their views.
CPA has cited benefits from Section 301 tariffs for U.S. production in diverse industries, including agricultural products, seafoods, minerals, chemicals, and others. In today’s hearing, CPA economists will highlight the impact of tariffs on the solar module manufacturing industry, where U.S. producers have gained market share as a result of the tariffs, while solar module prices continued to fall. They will also focus on the steel industry, where Section 232 tariffs contributed to industry growth and led to a 77% increase in earnings for the average steelworker.
“The global overcapacity in the steel industry, driven by China’s excess capacity of 400 million tonnes, is an ever-present threat to the western steel industry,” CPA Chief Economist Jeff Ferry will testify. “Implemented in early 2018, the 25 percent tariffs were the trigger for an unprecedented period of growth in the U.S. industry. A broad-based wave of capital investment followed, as the major steelmakers committed more than $10 billion to build new mills in Florida, Arkansas, Texas, Arizona, and elsewhere… Today, we have a choice. Under the bogus flag of “free trade,” we can continue to manage our economy to allow the high-value industries like steel to leave our shores and be replaced with ever more big box stores and fast food restaurants, or we can take action to ensure the growth of the high-value industries like steel.”
“Right now the solar industry is giving way to this trend as imports dominate the solar market and force firms to lay off workers or shutdown entirely. Removing tariffs will only exacerbate this situation and undermine our energy security needs,” CPA Economist Amanda Mayoral will testify. “Individual U.S. firms cannot compete against the collective resources of countries like China which provides free land, cheap or slave labor, subsidized loans, major tax breaks and major subsidies, adding up to hundreds of billions of dollars over the last thirty years, according to experts. These conditions make U.S. workers compete with slave labor, such as the slave labor camps in the Chinese Xinjiang province. Tariffs will never compare with these forms of market intervention. Eliminating tariffs would only undermine the current U.S. market. Facing issues like climate change, we need to build a strong renewable energy sector, which includes a resilient solar industry and supply chain. Tariffs are a necessary but insufficient measure to achieving this. Tariffs should be part of a comprehensive industrial strategy that targets the entire supply chain and focuses on quality rather than just the quantity of jobs.”
Read the full testimony of CPA Economists Jeff Ferry and Amanda Mayoral here.