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From Bible publishers to fishing rod suppliers, they’re streaming to Washington from across the U.S. and pleading for mercy from President Donald Trump’s most radical trade threat yet -- tariffs on almost all Chinese imports.
Testifying this week, hundreds of companies are almost all saying they’re hurting from Trump’s brawl with China. Yet a few blocks away, Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer made the pain sound mild. Appearing before Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday, he pushed back on the notion of big economic damage and suggested the showdown with Beijing is worth “some discomfort.” Here’s a rundown of the differing views:
The holiday decor industry is dreading more tariffs. “I don’t think the president ever intended to tax Christmas,” said Richard Tinberg, CEO of The Bradford Hammacher Group.Fed Chairman Jerome Powell mentioned trade concerns four times in his prepared statement to explain why the U.S. central bank opened the door Wednesday to its first interest-rate cut in a decade.Lance Fritz, the CEO of Union Pacific railroad, gave his view in an interview on Bloomberg Television: “I also can see a lot of our customers pulling back on their decision-making both from a capital perspective and from an inventory perspective,” he said. “I do see the early signs of slowing down more broadly than just on one segment of the economy.”Bloomberg chief economist Tom Orlik published new research Thursday that shows growing evidence the trade war is eroding long-term growth prospects.Lighthizer acknowledged there are strains but didn’t see them as very widespread or the U.S.’s fault. “I don’t believe for a second that what we’re doing is having a largely negative effect on economic growth,” he said. “The economy in a lot of other countries is slowing down and it doesn’t have anything to do, in my judgment, with what we’re doing.”
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