New Port of Los Angeles study shows ‘real casualties’ of trade war

November 13, 2019

NRF says a new study done for the Port of Los Angeles shows the impact the year-long trade war is having on the nation’s economy.

“Tariffs are a tax on U.S. companies and consumers,” NRF Vice President of Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “While the administration continues to claim that China is paying the tariffs, it’s clear the real casualties are American businesses, farmers, workers and consumers. As the trade negotiations continue, it is imperative that both sides come to a final agreement that removes all tariffs.”

Gold served as spokesman for the Americans for Free Trade coalition as NRF hosted a news conference in Washington on Tuesday where the port unveiled the study, titled “By the Numbers: Jeopardizing the National Benefits of Trade through American’s Busiest Port Complex.” The study found that tariffs imposed on goods from China and elsewhere since the summer of 2018 threaten nearly 1.5 million U.S. jobs and $186 billion of economic activity nationwide, based on international trade through the Port of Los Angeles and the adjoining Port of Long Beach.

“Every urban, suburban and rural community across our nation benefits from imports and exports moving through the San Pedro Bay ports, and ongoing tariffs are putting those benefits at risk,” Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said. “Some regions and industries are already feeling the pain, and the damage to jobs, income and tax revenue could be crippling down the road.”

National Foreign Trade Council President Rufus Yerxa said the study provides “graphic proof that a trade policy relying on overuse of tariffs can rebound badly on America.” Angela Hoffman, co-executive director of Farmers for Free Trade, said declining agricultural exports at the ports show that “American farmers and ranchers are hurting.”

The Los Angeles/Long Beach port complex is the busiest in the country, handling $380 billion in trade goods last year representing 22 percent of all U.S. waterborne trade and 42 percent of waterborne U.S. trade with China. A total of 37 percent of U.S. imports and 22 percent of exports flow through the ports, touching every state in the nation.

The 68-page report offers detailed analysis of the impact of tariffs on cargo moved through the ports, including breakouts for each state and each congressional district.

Watch the video of the news conference above.