Washington, DC. The Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) today congratulated the Trump administration for standing firm against China’s mercantilism by announcing an additional $100 billion of new potential tariffs, and for instructing the US Department of Agriculture to implement a plan to protect farmers and ranchers from economic aggression.
Last month, the administration concluded an eight-month study and imposed a moderate $50 billion in tariffs to respond to China’s illicit trade practices and theft of high-tech intellectual property. But rather than take steps to curb its unlawful behavior, Beijing responded with retaliatory tariffs targeting US farmers and ranchers as well as sensitive economic sectors. China’s announcement occurred without Beijing making any effort to reconsider its opportunistic behavior, without study of the unfair treatment given to US products, and without acceptance of existing WTO rules. President Trump has now understandably ordered the US Trade Representative to consider $100 billion in further tariffs to address Beijing’s longstanding industrial policies and trade cheating that hurts US manufacturers and agricultural producers. “These are strong, necessary steps to address longstanding economic aggression by China against the United States,” said Dan DiMicco, CPA Chairman. “President Trump, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, and trade advisor Peter Navarro are clearly all on the same page, and to the betterment of America’s economy. They are not going to be swayed by China’s bullying, and they are right to seek better behavior from Beijing, or take appropriate action.” DiMicco notes that Lighthizer and Navarro used a long, intensive process of study to arrive at the initial imposition of trade enforcement tariffs. But in its response, Beijing did not. “We’ve long needed to address Beijing’s brazen theft of our intellectual property,” said DiMicco. “China appropriates our technology to advance their high-tech sector and to build their military and economic capabilities—and all at the expense of US companies. Now that we’ve called them out on this, though, Beijing chose not to change course. They’ve simply doubled down and announced retaliation. Our members are incredibly thankful that the administration won’t be bullied by such self-serving behavior.” CPA says that Beijing’s response to US tariff action demonstrates an unwillingness to cooperate, or to modify its mercantilist practices. Instead, China responded by targeting US farmers and ranchers. The president is now investigating whether to impose an additional $100 billion in tariffs under section 301 of the US Trade Act of 1974. He has also instructed Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to implement a plan to protect US farmers and agricultural interests. Michael Stumo, CEO of the CPA, said, “Presidents Bush and Obama spent 16 years trying to get China to change through dialogue. They failed. But we urgently need to rebalance trade with China and other trading partners. This is a problem that’s years in the making, and it won’t get solved overnight. Targeting our farmers is particularly egregious and should not be tolerated. Our domestic market size provides considerable leverage and we should use it. Our members appreciate President Trump heeding the call to protect the nation’s farmers and ranchers with a comprehensive domestic agricultural policy. We look forward to working with Secretary Perdue to accomplish this.”