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Trump Auto Tariffs Would Be “Net Negative” – Destroy 157,000 American Jobs

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

New tariffs on imported automobiles and parts under consideration by President Trump could threaten more than 157,000 American jobs, according to a recent policy briefing published by the Trade Partnership WorldWide, an international trade and economic consulting firm.

President Donald Trump talks with auto industry leaders, including General Motors CEO Mary Barra (4th L) and United Auto Workers (UAW) President Dennis Williams (4th R) at the American Center for Mobility in Michigan in March 2017. (Source: Reuters) 

The six-page policy report said automobile tariffs introduced by President Trump would ultimately be detrimental to American workers. The organization analyzed the potential net impacts on American jobs and the economy from a 25 percent tariffs imposed on U.S. imports from all trading partners of automobiles, lightweight trucks, other vehicles, and parts.

“We find that the tariffs would have a very small positive impact on high-skilled workers in the motor vehicle and parts sectors, but very large negative impacts on workers – both high- and lower-skilled – in other sectors of the economy. Overall, U.S. economic output would decline,” the report warned.

The organization’s models indicate that Trump’s auto tariffs would boost employment in the auto sector by about 92,000, however, then eliminate 250,000 jobs across many industries throughout the broad economy. On top of that, American consumers will dish out about $6,400 more for an imported automobile that would cost around $30,000, which accounts for nearly a 21 percent increase in overall price. All in all, the report stated the economy would lose about .01 percent of its value if the auto tariffs were enacted. The study found:

  • The tariffs would result in a net loss of 157,000 U.S. jobs. A net loss of 250,000 jobs in the rest of the economy would more than offset an increase in U.S. motor vehicle and parts sector employment of 92,000 jobs.

  • About three jobs would be lost for every job gained in the motor vehicle and parts sector.

  • GDP would decline by 0.1 percent as higher costs, net job losses, and declines in producer and consumer spending power work their ways through the economy

  • Tariffs would add about $6,400 to the price of an imported $30,000 car.

The briefing notes that its trade analysts did not take into account any potential retaliation measures by American trade partners for the tariffs.

Table 1. U.S. Macroeconomic Effects of 25% Tariffs on Motor Vehicles and Parts

“Table 1 shows that the tariffs are estimated to cause a net decline in the output of the U.S. economy of 0.1 percent in the time frame considered here. The decline results from higher costs that ripple through the economy, making U.S. exports less competitive, and new car purchases more expensive, for example.”

 (Source: Trade Partnership WorldWide)

“Tariffs would reduce GDP by $18 billion and overall U.S. exports by nearly 2 percent annually,” the report stated.

Tariffs will increase prices for both imported vehicles and the U.S.- made cars with foreign components.

 (Source: Trade Partnership WorldWide)

Table 2. Net Number of U.S. Jobs Impacted by 25% Tariffs on Motor Vehicles and Parts (Number). 

“Table 2 summarizes the estimated net job impacts. Overall, 157,291 net jobs would be lost, including 45,450 jobs in nonmotor vehicle manufacturing sectors. Most job losses would come from services sectors that feel the impacts of the tariffs as the U.S. economy slows. Many of those services jobs are tied to production in manufacturing sectors that are negatively impacted by higher costs for motor vehicles and parts – trade and distribution, construction, and high-skilled business and professional services. Within the motor vehicle and parts increase, just 17,676 of them – or 19 percent – are the higher-skilled jobs the Administration cited in launching the review.”

The report concludes that President Trump’s automobile tariffs would be an overall “net negative” for American jobs and the economy.

“Motor vehicle and parts tariffs of 25 percent would have serious net negative impacts on the U.S. economy overall. They would adversely impact many workers in manufacturing sectors, and hundreds of thousands of workers in services sectors that depend on the health of manufacturing. The tariffs would boost automobile prices, both domestic and imported. If supporting jobs and strengthening the economy are the motivations for invoking national security reasons for imposing protection, such tariffs would have the opposite impact from that intended.”

President Trump’s threat of stoking a trade war between its trading partners is unsettling. The administration has threatened 25 percent tariffs on Chinese products, steel and aluminum tariffs on Europe, and has attempted to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico.

Trade organization and politicians who back free trade have been radically opposed to the administration’s trade tariff proposals.

“Extending the reach of these tariffs and quotas to additional countries is certain to provoke widespread retaliation from abroad and would put at risk the economic momentum achieved through the administration’s tax and regulatory reforms. We urge the administration to take this risk seriously,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Myron Brilliant said Wednesday.

The cautionary tale of the Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act of 1930 exacerbated the Great Depression as retaliatory tariffs by America’s trading partners reduced global growth. In a Central Bank induced economic expansion that is now entering the second longest cycle — and nearing the latter innings of the credit cycle. President Trump’s proposed trade war with trading partners might not be the best solution this late in the game if history means anything.


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