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AFP Urges United States to Eliminate Trade Barriers, Embrace Free Trade Policies

Jun 29, 2018 by AFP

Americans thrive when the United States embraces free trade.

Trade creates prosperity by promoting the free and voluntary exchange of goods and services.

By expanding the variety of goods and services available to American consumers, trade increases choices in the marketplace, fostering more competition and innovation and lowering costs.

More trade leads to greater business growth, new jobs and bigger paychecks for everyday Americans and their families.

The Problem with Tariffs

While trade opens doors to opportunity for the American people, tariffs close them.

Tariffs hurt workers, consumers and businesses by driving up costs – on everything from clothing to groceries to raw materials used to make household products and technology, to imported final products from televisions and washers to cars and airplanes.

Tariffs will especially hurt lower-income Americans, who are least able to bear the burden of higher prices. Trade barriers ultimately limit choices, shrink opportunities and stifle economic growth.

AFP’s Efforts to Promote Trade

Americans for Prosperity recently joined Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce and The LIBRE Initiative in opposing tariffs and other barriers to trade through a multi-year, multimillion-dollar campaign. The initiative is designed to transform the way Americans think about trade with other nations.

AFP President Tim Phillips underscored the need for more trade and the existing problems with tariffs, stating:

The Trump administration has taken some incredibly positive steps for the American economy, but tariffs will undercut that progress and needlessly hamstring our full economic potential. There are better ways to negotiate trade deals than by punishing American consumers and businesses with higher costs. Instead of pursuing protectionist policies that we already know don’t work, let’s help everyone win by expanding trade, opening new markets and lowering costs.

Phillips added,

This president has demonstrated strong leadership in his effort to provide the American people with the most substantial tax relief this nation has seen in decades. These tariffs amount to self-imposed barriers to the success of tax reform and we urge the administration to reconsider.

Principles for Trade Negotiations

As Congress and the administration consider trade negotiations going forward, officials should consider a handful of guidelines to champion the benefits of trade and discourage tariffs and other barriers.

These guidelines include:

  • Individuals, businesses and countries should be free to engage in the voluntary exchange of goods and services, which improves lives by growing the economy, increasing paychecks and creating new and better jobs.
  • Individuals and businesses in a competitive market, not government bureaucrats or politicians, should guide trade decisions.
  • Punitive measures such as tariffs and quotas harm most consumers, workers and businesses and should be eliminated.
  • Subsidies and other forms of government support for powerful and politically connected businesses and industries do not create value. They punish consumers and insulate businesses from market competition. They should be eliminated.
  • Trade disputes should be resolved through existing international trade agreements and organizations.
  • While national security may be a consideration in trade policy, they should be used to restrict trade only when there is a narrow national security interest at stake, not simply as a justification to impose tariffs.

Recommendations for the president include reducing or eliminating trade barriers through international agreements, including:

  • Modernizing NAFTA.
  • Resuming negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union.
  • Returning to the negotiating table on the Trans Pacific Partnership.

Lawmakers should focus on embracing trade and its many benefits when conducting negotiations in the future.

Our elected officials must put the American people first by eliminating trade barriers rather than erecting them.

Background:

Freedom Partners, AFP: New Steel Tariffs Hurt American Consumers, Workers and Companies

New China Tariffs to Harm U.S. Consumers & Businesses, Say Freedom Partners, AFP and The LIBRE Initiative

AFP, Freedom Partners and The LIBRE Initiative Urge White House to Abandon Harmful Tariff Policy in Official Comment to USTR

Freedom Partners, AFP Oppose New Auto Tariffs

AFP, Freedom Partners and The LIBRE Initiative Announce Major Campaign to Promote Trade, Combat Tariffs