Sean Hackbarth Sean Hackbarth
Senior Editor, Digital Content, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


November 20, 2018


Food, family, and friends gathered together in celebration.

Thanksgiving is here.

As you sit down to eat, watch some football, and be thankful for all that you have, celebrating Thanksgiving this year might be more expensive for many because of our current tariff war.

Earlier this year, the administration placed tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese imports, Also, steel and aluminum tariffs remain on Canadian and Mexican imports even though all three countries came to agreement on a new trade deal in October.

These tariffs could give some indigestion to many Americans this Thanksgiving.

Let’s start with traveling at the busiest time of the year. Imported suitcases and other bags are subject to higher tariffs.

When you get to your destination you’ll be famished, awaiting the spread of food. However, many of those mouthwatering items – the green beans for the casserole, the cranberry sauce, the pumpkin for the pie – will come out of cans. Unfortunately because of steel tariffs, those cans cost more. Canners either have to eat those costs themselves or pass them along to consumers.

Want to add some variety to your Thanksgiving meal by including fish? Well, tuna, cod, swordfish, tilapia, salmon, trout, lobster, and shrimp imported from China all have higher tariffs placed on them.

How about oyster stuffing? Too bad, imported oysters have higher tariffs as well.

Will you be drinking a soda or a beer with your meal? If it’s from an aluminum can, you could see higher costs.

What about after the meal? Plan to throw around the football? Well, a new pigskin made with imported leather got hit with tariffs.

Or perhaps you will walk the dog to burn off the calories from that slice of pie. Well, imported dog leashes got hit too.

In both cases, it might be cold outside, and you’ll want to bundle up. But thanks to higher tariffs, gloves and hats could cost more.

As you can see, trade conflicts aren’t far-away stories in the news. They affect many American businesses, workers, and as we’ve seen, families.

It’s a reminder that tariffs are taxes on each of us, and they’re The Wrong Approach to settling trade disputes.

How about this idea: Just like friends and family gather together each Thanksgiving, the U.S. and her trading partners should gather together to settle their trade differences.

Then we’d have one more thing to be thankful for next year.

About the authors

Sean Hackbarth

Sean Hackbarth

Sean writes about public policies affecting businesses including energy, health care, and regulations. When not battling those making it harder for free enterprise to succeed, he raves about all things Wisconsin (his home state) and religiously follows the Green Bay Packers.

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