June 15, 2018


“This is not the right approach.”

WASHINGTON, D.C.— U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue today issued the following statement:

“Imposing tariffs places the cost of China’s unfair trade practices squarely on the shoulders of American consumers, manufacturers, farmers, and ranchers. This is not the right approach.”

The U.S. Chamber has vocally opposed using tariffs – and promoted working with allies – as a way to address China’s trade and investment policies and practices:

  • In his 2018 State of American Business address, Donohue discussed the need to work with U.S. allies “to forge a common response to China’s state capitalism.”
  • In March, the U.S. Chamber led the business community in issuing a formal statement opposing the potential use of tariffs against China – at the time rumored to be roughly $30 billion. A coalition of 45 business organizations led by the U.S. Chamber also sent a letter to the administration highlighting the harmful effects of tariffs.
  • During the U.S. Chamber’s 9th China Business Conference in May, Donohue delivered remarks welcoming United States Trade Representative Ambassador Robert Lighthizer to the Conference. Urging against the use of tariffs, Donohue said, “We need the administration instead to work collectively with U.S. industry, Congress, and our trading partners to adequately address China’s unfair trade practices in ways that maximize the likelihood of real, enforceable solutions – and without inflicting collateral damage on businesses and consumers.”
  • On May 11, the U.S. Chamber submitted comments to USTR regarding its Section 301 investigation into China’s policies and practices. The U.S. Chamber submission recommends four systemic reforms for China to undertake that go beyond limited actions to gradually open select industries.
  • Donohue then traveled to China where he led the 10th U.S.-China CEO Dialogue. Upon returning, he discussed the path forward for the U.S.-China relationship on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” as well as in his weekly commentary.
  • On May 29, Donohue commented on the administration’s decision to move forward with $50 billion in tariffs against China. He said that the new tariffs are “in fact a tax on American consumers and will undermine the competitiveness of American companies.”
  • In a May 31 memo to the U.S. Chamber’s Board of Directors, Donohue sounded the alarm about the potential negative effects the administration’s current approach to trade could have on U.S. consumers, businesses, and economic growth. Donohue focused his June 11 weekly commentary on the same topic.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations. Its International Affairs division includes more than 80 regional and policy experts and 25 country- and region-specific business councils and initiatives. The U.S. Chamber also works closely with 117 American Chambers of Commerce abroad.