US ports at mercy of reciprocal tariffs

Port of Los Angeles US ports including Los Angeles are being affected by the US-China trade war. Credit: Port of Los Angeles

The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) is supporting a new agreement for the US to abstain from further tariff increases on Chinese products for 90 days while it works with China to establish a longer-term trade deal which could protect business at US ports.

Following trade talks between the US and China, American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) president and CEO Kurt Nagle said the announcement postponing the previously-planned start date for tariffs to increase from 10% to 25% on 1 January 2019 is encouraging news and evidence that progress is being made in trade negotiations, on which the fate of US exports and consequently trade flow and jobs at domestic ports could rest.

AAPA has previously expressed its concern for the impact of tariffs on ports and Mr Nagle again pointed out that ports are an important part of goods supply, processing and export for the US economy but “reciprocal trade sanctions from our trading partners” could increase the cost of US exports as well as reduce demand for them.

Integral to supply chain

“Activities at our ports support over 23 million American jobs. For every $1 billion in exports shipped through U.S. seaports, 15,000 jobs are created,” stated Mr Nagle. “With these reasons in mind, AAPA commends the decision to temporarily suspend another tariffs increase, and supports and encourages steps focused on expanding exports rather than creating new import restrictions.”

AAPA is a member of Americans for Free Trade, a broad coalition of American businesses, trade organizations, and workers united against tariffs.

In a joint statement with Farmers for Free Trade and Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, the coalition’s campaign spokesman and former congressman Charles Boustany said that the tariffs currently in place should be removed.

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