13 Sept 2018
U.S. Industry Groups Join Forces in Fight Against Tariffs
Two recently formed organisations – Farmers for Free Trade and Americans for Free Trade – have joined forces in an attempt to amplify “the diverse and powerful voices of the families, farmers, factory workers, manufacturers, retailers, energy and technology companies, importers, exporters and other supply-chain stakeholders hurt by tariffs.”
Founded in June 2017 as a bi-partisan voice against tariffs affecting U.S. farm exports, Farmers for Free Trade is co-chaired by former senators Richard Lugar (Republican-Indiana) and Max Baucus (Democrat-Montana). This organisation has grown rapidly since its creation and continues to add new members, including most recently the American Soybean Association. Americans for Free Trade, meanwhile, was created on 12 September as a multi-industry coalition comprised of 86 leading trade associations representing thousands of businesses and workers. Immediately upon its creation, this organisation joined forces with Farmers for Free Trade in a multi-million dollar “Tariffs Hurt the Heartland” campaign focused on “telling the stories of the American businesses, farmers, workers and families harmed by tariffs through town-hall style events, grassroots outreach to Congress and the administration, social media, rapid response and digital advertising.”
According to a 12 September press release by Americans for Free Trade, the “Tariffs Hurt the Heartland” campaign includes an interactive and geographically searchable map that allows users to find stories of job losses, deferred investments, higher prices and other negative consequences for farmers and businesses in communities across the United States that have been impacted by tariffs. The coalition sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi on 12 September announcing their formation, outlining their plans and calling on 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 implemented and future tariffs that have been proposed.”
The coalition will host town-hall style events in Chicago, Nashville and Harrisburg (Pennsylvania) next week and plans to write columns for publication. Although the group is especially targeting lawmakers in five states (Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana and Tennessee) ahead of the 6 November mid-term elections, the interactive map and campaign indicate a national interest.