Expert warns Trump's tariffs will hurt U.S. businesses, consumers

Updated 2018-03-10 21:44:05 Xinhua

The tariffs on steel and aluminum imposed by the Trump administration will increase costs for local producers and raise prices for American consumers, an international trade specialist said Friday.

Brian Peck, director of the Center for Transnational Law and Business at the University of Southern California, said the executive order signed by U.S. President Donald Trump to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imported from foreign countries will "have a significant negative impact on American consumers and the economy."

"A large number of U.S. manufacturers use imported steel and aluminum to produce items such as appliances, autos and beverage cans," he told Xinhua.

"The 25 percent tariffs on steel and 10 percent tariffs on aluminum will increase the cost of production for goods and items that use these materials," he said.

Peck used to hold multiple positions in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative from 2001 to 2005 and once served as deputy director of international affairs and business development at the California Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development in 2014.

He predicted that the cost rise will lead to a price hike for American consumers, and meanwhile U.S. goods will become more expensive and less competitive in the global market.

"These tariffs also run the risk of costing jobs in manufacturing sectors that use imported steel and aluminum. The last time that the United States imposed tariffs on steel imports in 2002, 200,000 jobs were lost," Peck said.

Despite mounting dissensions amid trading partners around the world, Trump formally signed proclamations to impose the tariffs, vowing to protect the U.S. steel and aluminum industry in the name of national security.

However, a recent study by the Trade Partnership, a Washington D.C.-based consulting firm, estimated that Trump's new tariffs would result in a net loss of 146,000 jobs in the United States after accounting for positive impacts on U.S. steel and aluminum producers.

"In addition, the tariffs if imposed on steel and aluminum from key trading partners will likely lead to retaliation in the form of higher tariffs on U.S. exports which could escalate into a trade war that almost all economists agree would have a very negative impact on the global economy," Peck said.

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