US trade coalition urges Trump to reach “phase one” deal with China



The trade war triggered by US tariffs has invited retaliatory levies by China. Soybean is a commodity China imports in large quantities from the US. Photo: VCG

 

Americans for Free Trade, a coalition of more than 150 associations united against tariffs, on Wednesday urged U.S. President Donald Trump to reach a “phase one” deal with China.

“We urge you to reach a Phase One deal with China and take the necessary steps to resolve the ongoing trade dispute,” the coalition wrote in a letter to Trump and strongly encouraged the administration to suspend implementation of the so-called “Tranche 4B tariffs” on Chinese goods scheduled for Dec. 15 if a “phase one” deal is not finalized before then.

The Trump administration in August announced a plan to put 15 percent tariffs on billions of U.S. dollars in Chinese-made consumer goods on Dec. 15, known as the “4B” list of goods.

“We think it is incredibly important for the ongoing negotiations to be allowed to continue without the specter of new tariffs taking effect before a deal is signed,” the letter said, adding that the U.S. administration has previously delayed those tariffs.

“As you noted when the Tranche 4B tariffs were announced, you delayed implementation of those tariffs specifically to avoid harming American consumers over the holidays. This delay should be extended until a deal is reached,” said the letter.

China is ready to work with the U.S. side to properly address each other’s core concerns on the basis of equality and mutual respect and strive to reach a “phase one” deal, which serves the interests of both countries and the rest of the world, China’s
Ministry of Commerce spokesperson Gao Feng said last month.

The letter came after anti-tariff campaign group Tariffs Hurt the Heartland said Monday that American consumers and businesses paid an additional 42 billion dollars from February 2018 through October 2019 as a result of Washington-initiated trade disputes.

“We continue to believe that tariffs are the wrong approach, and we believe these tariffs are causing escalating economic harm to American businesses, workers, farmers and families across the country,” the coalition said.

Citing a research by Trade Partnership Worldwide, LLC, an international trade and economic consulting firm, the coalition said the U.S. Section 301 tariffs on Chinese goods, along with the ongoing Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum and retaliation, have cost the average American family of four nearly 800 dollars this year and have shaved 0.4 percent off the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP).

If additional tariffs on all of the remaining Chinese imports are applied, “the negative impacts to American families will grow to over 2,300 dollars, and the hit to U.S. GDP will be a negative 1 percent,” the coalition warned.