ICYMI: AFT Event Highlights Tariffs’ Ongoing Impact

WASHINGTON, D.C., (May 25, 2022) — Earlier this week, Americans for Free Trade held a “Tariff Talk” with speakers from four top think tanks to get their perspective on the trade war’s continued impact on the American economy as the Office of the United States Trade Representative conducts its four-year review of the tariffs.

You can find a video of the full AFT Tariff Talk, which was hosted by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) at the CTA Innovation House, on our Twitter page here.

Featured speakers at the event, which was moderated by Politico’s Doug Palmer, included:

  • Ed Gresser, Vice President and Director for Trade and Global Markets at the Progressive Policy Institute
  • Christine McDaniel, Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University
  • Zach Moller, Director of the Economic Program for Third Way
  • Tori Smith, Director of International Economic Policy for the American Action Forum

Throughout the event, speakers reiterated a truth that businesses throughout the nation are all too familiar with: tariffs are taxes on American families, workers, and businesses:

“The wide consensus of economists is that consumers eventually pay the tariff.” – Ed Gresser, Progressive Policy Institute

“We know that tariffs are taxes on you and me.” – Tori Smith, American Action Forum

But, as Third Way’s Zach Moller pointed out, “We cannot talk about tariffs today without talking about their impact on inflation.”

Inflation is top-of-mind for American voters and policymakers alike, with rising prices sure to have a dramatic impact on this year’s midterm elections. The urgency of the issue and the way tariffs contribute to increased costs were a primary focus for many of the event’s speakers:

“We need to be fighting inflation literally every way we can. Lowering tariffs is a way Democrats and the Biden administration could act on inflation, and I’m frankly surprised we haven’t seen more action on it.” – Zach Moller, Third Way

“[Lifting the tariffs] is not going to be a panacea [for inflation], but it’s certainly going to help. And you’re going to get a lot better bang for the buck when you do all the other good things you should be doing.” – Christine McDaniel, Mercatus Center

Speakers each had different ideas for what exactly the future could hold for American trade policy, but the common conclusion was that regardless of what shape that policy takes, it is time for the tariffs to go:

“I think it’s obvious to say that it’s time for these tariffs to go.” – Tori Smith, American Action Forum

“There’s very little awareness of tariffs as part of the tax system and what we’re taxing and why is it that we’ve allowed such a weirdly regressive tariff system … it’s something that’s very ripe for reform.” – Ed Gresser, Progressive Policy Institute

As the Mercatus Center’s Christine McDaniel pointed out, “In all this, we have lost sight of the American business … The vast majority don’t want these tariffs.” 

If you are interested in speaking with someone about the trade war and its negative impact on Americans, please contact press@americansforfreetrade.com.