OREM — International trade is growing concern for many Utah small businesses as the impact of sanctions imposed by the Trump administration impact the bottom line of companies in the Beehive State and across the nation.
Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, focused on the problem during an International Trade Conference Thursday in the Sorensen Student Center at Utah Valley University, which included a panel discussion on tariffs. Curtis said trade and tariff policies in Washington are currently affecting businesses in Utah, but the ultimate goal is to help firms and producers nationwide prosper in the long term.
“It’s very clear that this is a big deal and that it’s hitting them in substantial ways, especially small businesses,” he said. “One of our responsibilities is to talk about what is happening to them, understand what is happening to them and move through this (process) as quickly as possible to get them to the other (positive) side of this.”
In June, the Trump administration imposed a 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent tariffs on aluminum from Canada, Mexico and the European Union. The move was preceded in January by tariffs on foreign-made solar panels and washing machines. In September, the president levied more than $200 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods, one of the country’s top international trading partners, which retaliated with sanctions of its own.
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, $568 million in Utah exports to China are being threatened by retaliatory tariffs, explained Miles Hansen, president and CEO of World Trade Center Utah.
“An analysis by WTC Utah shows that the state industries primarily affected by Chinese retaliatory tariffs include aluminum recycling, ranchers and beef processing, plastics manufacturing and agriculture,” he said.
Since the tariffs were imposed, the major impact has been felt by small- and medium-size businesses across the country, threatening the survival of many, Curtis said.
“If they can survive, there is good news and hope on the other end,” he said. “But the biggest question is can we get them through this period?”
“We have to,” he added. “We don’t have a choice.”
Curtis said getting the tariff strategy to work in the United States’ favor will require strengthening relationships with other trading partner countries to provide the manufacturing services so heavily relied upon through China right now and to work hard at getting new trade agreements in place, such as the revised North American trade deal that was renamed the United States-Mexico-Canada …read more
Source:: Deseret News – Business News