US trade coalition calls for tariffs removal

Washington: Americans for Free Trade, a coalition of more than 150 industry associations, has urged President Donald Trump’s administration to remove all additional tariffs, as the China-US phase-one economic and trade agreement took effect.

“It’s encouraging to see some of the phase-one deal come to fruition. American businesses, farmers, consumers, and workers certainly need these (tariff) reductions, as they have been paying the price for these tariffs since the trade war began,” Jonathan Gold, spokesperson for Americans for Free Trade, said in a statement on Friday.

As part of the Cphase-one trade deal signed last month, the US government has agreed to cut additional tariffs on roughly $120 billion worth of Chinese products from 15 to 7.5 per cent, reports Xinhua news agency.

China also announced last week that it would halve rates of additional tariffs on $75 billion worth of US products. Both of those tariff modifications took effect on Friday.

“While this progress is a good first step, the administration must negotiate a Phase Two Deal that completely lifts all tariffs,” Gold said.

Multiple researches by American economists have showed that additional tariffs imposed by the US against its major trading partners since early 2018 have led to higher prices, ultimately hurting the overall American economy.

Overall, Americans have paid an additional $50 billion in tariffs since February 2018 through December 2019, according to new data released by anti-tariff campaign group Tariffs Hurt the Heartland on Monday.

The trade coalition’s statement came after a survey showed on Thursday that members of the US-China Business Council (USCBC) overwhelmingly view the China-US phase-one trade deal as positive for the commercial environment and bilateral relations.

Among those with a positive view, the majority believes the agreement stabilizes their bilateral relationship and prevents imminent imposition of new tariffs, according to the USCBC, which represents over 200 US companies that do businesses in China.