SC lawmakers speak out in support of Pres. Trump's push for tari - FOX Carolina 21

SC lawmakers speak out in support of Pres. Trump's push for tariffs

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The President is pushing for new tariffs on $200 billion worth of goods from China, and they could impact what you buy every day.  Now South Carolina business leaders are asking the state's congressional leaders to step up. 

A letter was sent out on Tuesday from South Carolina Chamber of Commerce President Ted Pitts.

"South Carolina's business community and the state Chamber of Commerce wanted to communicate with our federal delegation about some of the concerns we have with the talk that the  current administration is having about tariffs and trade," Pitts said.

The letter highlights what's at stake are tied to $3 billion dollars of exported goods and asks that lawmakers "do whatever it takes to inform the administration about the jobs at risk when it takes a narrower view of trade."

The letter comes as the Trump administration announced they plan to place 10% tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.  Products like fish, fruits and even clothing would be impacted.  Furman University professor Tom Smythe tells us, even talk of tariffs can be disruptive to the marketplace.

"Just the talk of tariffs has led to extreme volatility in the stock market, currency markets those types of things," Smythe said.

Those we spoke with today say there are trade deals currently in place that need to be fixed. 

Ted Pitts explained, "There are bad actors in the trade world that we need to deal with and we applaud the administration for taking on the charge of trying to renegotiate and put the us in a better position from a trade perspective.  But ultimately some of the things being talked about have some consequences."

We also reached out to Congressional leaders from the Upstate about the tariff issue. Sen. Lindsey Graham said he supported Trump in calling for the need to have a 'level playing field' with countries like China.

"I would tell South Carolina businesses, 'I get your message, but you have to understand why President Trump won," Graham said. "You make a car in Greenville and sell it in Europe, it's like five times the tariff. That needs to change."

Rep. Jeff Duncan also spoke out in support of the President, saying Trump is making American interests a top priority.

Below is the full statement issued by Duncan:

President Trump has made it clear that the days of taking advantage of the United States are over. Whether it’s combating steel dumping, intellectual property theft, currency manipulation, unfair barriers against trade, or failed NATO commitments—it’s refreshing that the President has made protecting and promoting American interests a top priority.

What the President’s trying to accomplish on trade shouldn’t surprise anyone, because he’s been talking about it for over 30 years and made it a key issue during his campaign. He simply wants the United States to be treated fairly, and I completely support that goal. President Trump knows that we have been in a trade war for decades; he’s just trying to ensure we fight that war more effectively than past Administrations.

Tariffs are not good long term policies, but can sometimes be appropriate if used as tools to force other countries play by the rules, or bring countries with higher trade barriers back to the negotiation table. As of now, I believe that’s how the President is using his authority. President Trump’s rhetoric and actions have already led to increased pressure on NATO allies to increase defense spending, as well as recognition from allies and adversaries alike that there are many existing barriers to trade that should be eliminated. President Trump must take a targeted approach to combat unfair trade practices, but also do his best to ensure we do not put American consumers, manufacturers, and exporters at economic risk.  The Administration  understands that some businesses may have unique situations that require tariff relief, and I have worked with South Carolina companies with legitimate claims on their exclusion requests, and to improve the exclusion process itself.  At the end of the day, this is about ensuring that American companies compete on solid footing to create American jobs and American prosperity.

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