US equipment makers see Trump tariff hike costing 400,000 jobs

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President Donald Trump’s higher tariffs on Chinese imports will have “dire consequences” for U.S. equipment manufacturers and worsen prospects for American farmers and others already reeling from lower commodity prices, an industry trade group warned on Friday.

The tariffs will “drive down exports, and suppress job gains for the industry by as much as 400,000 over 10 years. It will also invite China to hit back at American businesses, farmers, communities, and families,” said Kip Eideberg, vice president of government affairs for the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, which represents more than 1,000 U.S. makers of farm, construction and mining machinery.

“With producers already struggling with falling commodity prices, additional retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural exports will have a chilling effect on equipment manufacturers,” Eideberg said in a statement after the penalties went into effect.

Just after midnight on Friday, the U.S. slapped a 25% tariff on about $200 billion of Chinese goods, up from 10%. China has said it would take “necessary countermeasures,” though Chinese officials did not immediately specify what they were.

The Trump administration went ahead with the new tariffs even as trade talks were scheduled to continue in Washington later Friday with a Chinese delegation led by Vice Premier Liu He.

“We support the president’s efforts to address China’s unfair trade and investment practices, which prevent equipment manufacturers from competing on a level playing field,” Eideberg said in the statement. “But we do not believe that broad unilateral tariffs are the right approach.”

(By John Harney)
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