The Numbers Are In And America’s Businesses Broadly Support Trump’s Tariffs

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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The majority of America’s businesses support President Donald Trump’s tariffs and they want even more, according to a Thursday UBS Investor Watch poll.

Some 71 percent of business owners (from small to large corporations) support imposing additional tariffs on the Chinese, 66 percent support more tariffs on Mexico, 64 percent want more tariffs on European goods and 60 percent would like additional tariffs on Canadian goods, UBS Investor Watch found. Among high net worth investors, 59 percent support more tariffs on Chinese exports.

China is the top concern when it comes to U.S. trading partners, with 88 percent of business owners claiming they believe China engages in unfair trade practices with the U.S.

While U.S. business owners wouldn’t hate increasing trade pressure, roughly half of them believe a trade war would have a net-negative impact on the domestic economy. Still, 44 percent believe the trade war will have a positive impact on their business.

Overall, American business owners have a positive outlook and are confident in the state of the economy. Over 70 percent of business owners have a positive 12-month economic outlook and 71 percent are bullish on the prospect of their futures over the next year.

As far as the president is concerned, 55 percent of business owners believe the administration has had an overall positive impact on their business, with only 20 percent reporting a negative impact.

The top concerns for business owners are rising health care costs and cyber security risks.

Trump has taken a great deal of criticism from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, who believe his trade policies are protectionist and will hurt long-run economic growth. Business owners, especially those who run small to medium-sized businesses, are mainly focused on the domestic, not the international. It does make sense that U.S. business owners are in favor of being tougher on countries, like China, they believe are giving America the short end of the stick when it comes to trade.

The administration has already levied tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods. The White House announced a 25-percent tariff on $34 billion worth of Chinese exports of machinery in early July, electronics and other components. The administration followed that up July 10 with plans to impose a 10-percent tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese products. (RELATED: US To Hit China With $200 Billion Worth Of Tariffs)

Any new tariffs would be in addition to the 25-percent tariffs the administration already enacted on $50 billion worth of goods that “contain industrially significant technologies,” a move the U.S. hopes will help stop intellectual property theft on the part of Chinese manufacturers. The president and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin have not ruled out the possibility that the administration will slap all Chinese imports, worth approximately $500 billion, with tariffs. (RELATED: Stocks React To China Tariffs)

Trump is adamant China is benefitting from unfair trade practices at the cost of the American worker, arguing the U.S. has lost out to China for decades, as they steal intellectual property and manufacturing jobs.

For their part, China has responded in kind to the president’s tariffs, issuing its own set of tariffs on America products. In many cases, Chinese tariffs impact areas that voted for Trump in the 2016 presidential election cycle. (RELATED: Mnuchin: President ‘Isn’t Afraid’ Of A Trade War)

While China exports $500 billion worth of goods and services to the U.S. annually, the U.S. only exports roughly $130 billion to China each year. That has the administration feeling secure in its position, arguing, like Mnuchin and the president have in recent months, that the U.S. has the upper hand against China in the ongoing negotiations.

The White House is also considering raising tariffs on other countries to upwards of 25 percent.

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