More than 600 US companies urge Trump to end trade war

Business leaders say tariffs are taxes paid directly by US companies, and not China

US president Donald Trump will meet China president Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in June. Photograph: Reuters

US president Donald Trump will meet China president Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in June. Photograph: Reuters

 

Walmart, Target Corp and more than 600 other companies urged US president Donald Trump in a letter on Thursday to resolve the trade dispute with China, saying tariffs hurt American businesses and consumers.

This letter is the latest of many sent to the Trump administration by Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, the national campaign against tariffs supported by more than 150 trade groups representing agriculture, manufacturing, retail and tech industries.

But it is significant as US-China trade tensions escalate and comes before a possible meeting between Mr Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping at the June 28th-29th G20 summit in Osaka, Japan.

Mr Trump has said he wants to meet Mr Xi there and will decide on whether to extend tariffs to almost all Chinese imports after that.

With less than three weeks to go before talks between Chinese and US leaders, expectations for progress toward ending the trade war are low.

Sources have said there has been little preparation for a meeting even as the health of the world economy is at stake.

Tit-for-tat tariffs

“We remain concerned about the escalation of tit-for-tat tariffs,” the new letter sent on Thursday said. “Broadly applied tariffs are not an effective tool to change China’s unfair trade practices. Tariffs are taxes paid directly by US companies . . . not China.”

Walmart, the largest US private sector employer and the world’s largest retailer, has said tariffs will increase prices for US consumers.

“Trade overall has been good for Americans, good for consumers . . . and I realise it gets criticised at times,” Walmart chief executive Doug McMillon said last week.

He urged the Trump administration focus on how trade helps a broad number of people in the country and “not just those it harms”.

Additional 25 per cent tariffs on $300 billion (€267 billion) in imports, on top of those already levied, would wipe out more than 2 million US jobs, the letter said, citing estimates from international consultancy the Trade Partnership.

They would also add more than $2,000 (€1,780) in costs for the average American family of four and reduce the value of US Gross Domestic Product by 1 per cent, it said.

“An escalated trade war is not in the country’s best interest, and both sides will lose,” the letter said. – Reuters