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CEO DATELINE – Associations launch new campaign against tariffs

Sept. 12, 2018
By Walt Williams

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A large number of associations are once again seeking to prevent the Trump administration from imposing tariffs on a wide range of imports, this time by taking their case directly to the public.

The Tariffs Hurt the Heartland is a new multimillion-dollar campaign that “will tell the stories of American families, farmers, workers and businesses who are being hurt by the trade war,” according to a statement. The effort is being organized by Farmers for Free Trade and Americans for Free Trade, two coalitions that include numerous associations among their memberships.

“This broad coalition represents a significant cross-section of our nation’s economy and speaks volumes to the sort of negative impact these misguided tariffs are making,” said Dennis Slater, president of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. “By joining together we hope to send a message to Washington that we need trade not taxes.”

The campaign will consist of live events in congressional districts, paid advertisements, op-eds and blog posts, a digital media campaign and a rapid response “war room” that will fact-check tariff announcements. It will also feature an online interactive map allowing users “to find stories of job losses, deferred investments, higher prices and other negative consequences for farmers and businesses in communities across the country impacted by tariffs.”

“Tariffs have had little impact on the Chinese, but are already harming American consumers, workers, and communities,” said Dean Garfield, CEO of the Information Technology Industry Council. “By making it more expensive to sell American products at home and abroad, the administration is eroding this country’s leadership across major industries.”

Other associations participating in the campaign include the National Retail Federation, National Fisheries Institute, Retail Industry Leaders Association, The Toy Association, Consumer Technology Association and American Apparel & Footwear Association.

The campaign website is