President Donald Trump wants to give America’s farmers $12 billion to shield them from losses in his global trade feuds. But if he bailed out every industry affected, it would cost more than triple that, a new report found.
Providing aid to all US sectors hurt by other countries’ retaliatory tariffs would cost $39 billion, according to the US Chamber of Commerce.
Auto part manufacturers would receive $7.6 billion, and iron and steel producers would get $4.6 billion. An array of other industries — from fishing to furniture-making — would also need multimillion-dollar packages.
The chamber’s analysis was prompted by the Trump administration’s announcement last week that it would provide up to $12 billion in aid to certain farmers, dairy and pork producers.
Several key US trading partners, including China, Canada, Mexico and the European Union, have levied tariffs on a variety of agricultural products in response to Trump administration tariffs on their exports.
The chamber, which represents the interests of American businesses, argues that offering aid to any one industry is “a slippery — and costly — slope.”
“Let’s be clear: The best way to protect American industries from the damaging consequences of a trade war is to avoid entering into a trade war in the first place,” Neil Bradley, the chamber’s chief policy officer, wrote in a post. “The administration’s focus should be expanding free trade and removing these harmful tariffs, not allocating taxpayer’s money to only marginally ease the suffering for some of the industries feeling the pain of the trade war.”
Although farmers have been vocal about the impact of Trump’s trade war, other industries are also feeling the effects — from both US tariffs and retaliatory measures.
General Motors and Fiat Chrysler recently reported lower profits and cut their forecasts, citing rising commodity costs, particularly steel and aluminum. Coke is hiking the price of soda because it’s more expensive to make aluminum cans. And Whirlpool and other washing machine manufacturers have raised prices.