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Multi-Industry Business Coalition to Fight Trump Tariffs

Business executives pose for a photo during a news conference organized by Farmers for Free Trade in Mexico City, Mexico, March 1, 2018. (Edgard Garrido/Reuters)

Dozens of businesses and industry groups are teaming up to wage a multi-million-dollar campaign against President Trump’s tariffs.

The coalition, called Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, includes Farmers for Free Trade and an eclectic group called Americans for Free Trade representing thousands of companies.

The campaign will run ads, reach out to members of Congress, and hold events in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Chicago, and Nashville, telling stories of American families and businesses hurt by the tariffs.

The groups sent a letter to House and Senate leaders inviting them to participate in the events with their constituents.

“We also strongly encourage Congress to exercise its oversight role on trade policy matters to prevent further harm to U.S. workers, consumers and families that will result from new tariffs — both those already being implemented and future tariffs that have been proposed,” the letter reads.

Trump has levied a 25 percent tariff on steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imported from allies including the European Union, Mexico, and Canada. He has also hit China with tariffs on $50 billion worth of imports. The Tariffs Hurt the Heartland campaign has expressed alarm at the administration’s threat to hit China with $267 billion more in tariffs.

“This campaign will show how tariffs are squeezing the average American family and community from every direction,” said Brian Kuehl, the executive director of Farmers for Free Trade.

The coalition said it agrees that there are “issues” to be resolved with key American trading partners, but stressed that tariffs won’t provide “meaningful change.”

“The most recent proposed list of [Chinese] goods subject to tariffs would damage consumer spending during the vital holiday shopping season as well as toy companies of all sizes, particularly small businesses,” said Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of the Toy Association.

“The stakes couldn’t be higher for American families, businesses, farmers and workers threatened by job losses and higher prices as a result of tit-for-tat tariffs,” said Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation. “We are here to stand up for communities across the country, large and small, that are counting on the administration to develop a real strategy, get back to the negotiating table and ease trade tensions.”

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