United States Chamber of Commerce CEO Suzanne Clark made a veiled attack against former President Donald Trump’s economic nationalist agenda, declaring that tariffs and reshoring America’s manufacturing base threaten the global economy.
During Clark’s annual speech to big business late last week, the Chamber executive said Americans must embrace globalization and free trade rather than seek to reshore American jobs that have been lost to China and other foreign countries over the last three decades.
Alone, the U.S. trade deficit with China since 2001 has eliminated nearly four million American jobs. Almost three million of these lost jobs, or about 75 percent, were in the nation’s manufacturing sector.
“Let’s be very clear: In a global economy, and in fragile geopolitical times, it is in America’s best interest for other economies to grow and succeed through free markets. Prosperous nations are stable nations — they become partners, allies, and ballasts against authoritarianism,” Clark said:
A global trend of protectionism, including here in the U.S., puts all of this at risk. To turn inward — to throw up trade barriers, impose tariffs, stop doing trade deals, reactively repatriate supply chains — is to inflict harm on our own economy. It robs our businesses and workers of new opportunities, and it raises prices for every American. [Emphasis added]
Like the free markets, the global economy is not a zero-sum game. Someone else doesn’t have to lose for us to win. On the contrary — the rise of the rest means new customers, new markets, and new allies, for us. [Emphasis added]
The speech is a veiled attack on Trump’s economic nationalist agenda, which includes across-the-board 10 percent tariffs on all foreign imports and passing through Congress the Recipricol Trade Act.
Both policy planks are opposed by Wall Street, big business, and corporate special interests who rely on outsourcing their supply chains overseas to drive up profit margins for executives.
President Joe Biden’s White House has blasted Trump’s plans for tariffs on all foreign imports, claiming — like the Chamber of Commerce — that such a move would drive up prices for Americans, though little-to-no evidence supports the accusation.
Analysis by Breitbart News has shown that tariffs do not raise prices on Americans. The latest research from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) notes that there is no connection between U.S. tariffs and current inflation.
Meanwhile, research from the Coalition for a Prosperous America has found that imposing tariffs on all foreign imports would create about 10 million American jobs and generate over $600 billion in new revenue.
Polls show that a majority of critical voting blocs side with Trump on the issue. A New York Times/Siena College poll from November 2023, for example, showed that 3-in-5 swing state voters back U.S. tariffs on China.
Republicans in Congress are also looking to massively increase U.S. tariffs. Late last year, the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party recommended Biden revoke U.S. free trade with China after a years-long investigation.