There is no question it’s an interesting time to work in trade policy in North America. As readers of Import/Export Wood Purchasing News know, the Trump Administration recently announced a new trade deal with Mexico and at press time negotiations to include Canada are continuing around the clock. By the time this column is published we will know whether President Trump has chosen to impose new tariffs on the so-called “List 3” of approximately $200 billion worth of Chinese goods which includes wood products. It’s all enough to make your head spin.
There is a belief at the highest levels of the White House that “tariffs are the greatest” as the President famously tweeted. Unfortunately, those involved directly in global sourcing know these tariffs are taxes paid by American importers, manufacturers, and retailers that are eventually borne by U.S. consumers and often degrade the competitiveness of U.S. manufactured goods sold abroad and slow growth. To help tell that story, in September we at the International Wood Products Association joined a group called Americans for Free Trade.
Americans for Free Trade is a coalition of more than 80 leading companies and business groups (and growing every day) that agree the tariffs are counterproductive. Americans for Free Trade is working closely with its sister group, Farmers for Free Trade, in support of the Tariffs Hurt the Heartland campaign. The groups will host events and other grassroots outreach across the country highlighting stories of U.S. farms and businesses who have been negatively impacted by increased trade protectionism.
While many Members of Congress profess to understand how the additional costs associated with new tariffs, and even the uncertainty that comes with threats of tariffs and possible retaliation by our trading partners, negatively impact families and businesses in their districts, precious few have been willing to take proactive action to oppose the imposition of new tariffs. This campaign will show them that support for free trade and the benefits it produces is widespread. Our hope is that they will then stand tall in support of stakeholders in their communities whose farms and businesses depend on global supply chains and access to global markets.
If this campaign sounds like something your company support, call us at IWPA or go to www.AmericansForFreeTrade.com to learn more and join the coalition at no cost.
On another critical matter, I would urge the American readers among you to get out and vote in the upcoming federal mid-term elections. No matter your political or policy preferences, the ability to participate in the electoral process is one of our most valuable rights. The last year or so have clearly shown us that who we choose to represent us in the halls of power can have direct impacts on our businesses.