Former President Trump, who is currently leading the Republican race for president, says he will put tariffs on all foreign goods in order to protect American jobs and pay.
In Wolfeboro, NH, Trump told people in the Republican primary that if elected president, he would put tariffs on all foreign goods coming into the United States and ultimately get Congress to approve Representative Sean Duffy’s (R-WI) Reciprocal Trade Act.
“I will impose an all-encompassing tariff on goods made in foreign countries to safeguard the interests of New Hampshire workers and their families,” declared Trump.
“I will also sign the Trump Reciprocal Trade Act into law. Anytime China or another country charges us a 100 or 200 percent tax, we will charge them the same amount back. More taxes for other countries means less taxes for Americans, especially workers, families, and small companies.”
Trump proposed in August to slap 10% tariffs on all imports from overseas; President Biden criticized this move.
It’s important that Trump’s economic nationalist platform is different from the business special interests that are deeply rooted in the Republican Party.
For example, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce worked hard in 2019 to make sure that Congress would never consider the Reciprocal Trade Act. According to surveys conducted at the time, over 90% of conservatives supported reciprocal tariffs on imports from other countries.
Even though many Republicans support free trade, the bulk of GOP people are becoming more and more against it. Seven out of ten GOP primary voters polled by the New York Times and Siena College in July stated the U.S. has “lost out from expanding trade since it has cost jobs.”
White working-class Republican supporters are even more opposed to free trade; a 73% majority of them believe that greater trade loses American jobs, and 70% of non-white, non-college-educated working-class Republicans agreed.
A letter from earlier this year by Robert Lighthizer, the former U.S. Trade Representative, asked Republicans to create a trade policy that would help American workers get jobs and make more money.
“We have to demand that the nations that have significant, ongoing surpluses with us allow our products into their markets and if they don’t, we’ll restrict their access to the United States,” argues Lighthizer. “To support these initiatives for more equitable trade, we also require a policy of carefully considered tariffs on the majority of imports in order to bring trade balance overall.”
According to research by the Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA), placing tariffs of 15 percent on all international imports and 35 percent on goods in essential supply chains would result in the creation of around 10 million new jobs in the United States and more than $600 billion in new income.