The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, September 19, 2018 1:00 am

Banks critical of tariff moves

Says trade war with China harmful to Hoosier economy

BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

U.S. Rep. Jim Banks said Tuesday the Trump administration's latest trade tariffs on China are bound to hurt northeast Indiana's economy. 

“I understand the president's intentions and understand that the bad actions of China over the past several years warrant some sort of response, but the broad approach that we've taken and the trade war that has ensued isn't ultimately healthy for the economy of places like northeast Indiana,” Banks, R-3rd, said in an interview.

“At the end of the day, these tariffs will mean that the American consumer is going to pay more and that we're going to see some damage done to the local economy in the process. That's concerning to me,” he said while visiting the Richard Lugar Safe Haven for Veterans in Fort Wayne.

President Donald Trump on Monday announced the imposition of $200 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports after placing $50 billion in duties on China-made goods in July. China responded Tuesday by announcing tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. imports on top of taxes imposed in July on $50 billion worth of American products.

The United States exported nearly $130 billion in goods to China last year while importing nearly $506 billion in Chinese products, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

Banks said that he hears “every single day” from businesses worried about the trade war's effects on prices and markets.

“Most of the feedback I'm receiving is more of concern rather than an evident, immediate impact on businesses in the 3rd District,” he said.

Banks said he has asked businesses to provide him with data on how the tariffs are affecting them.

The congressman said he “believes deeply in free trade” and has been “vocally opposed to the president's approach on the tariffs subject from the very beginning.”

Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-2nd, issued a statement Tuesday saying she is “increasingly concerned about the harmful impact tariffs are having on Hoosier farmers and manufacturers.”

Her northern Indiana district and Banks' district are considered the two most manufacturing-dependent congressional districts in the nation. Manufacturing accounted for 27.5 percent of the jobs in the 2nd District last year and 26.2 percent in the 3rd District, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

Walorski called for Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping to meet “and find a long-term solution that ensures American farmers, businesses, and workers are treated fairly.”

Trump has threatened tariffs on an additional $267 billion in Chinese imports if China's new tariffs take effect Monday as scheduled. He wrote Tuesday on Twitter that “China has been taking advantage of the United States on Trade for many years. They also know that I am the one that knows how to stop it. There will be great and fast economic retaliation against China if our farmers, ranchers and/or industrial workers are targeted!”

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