Tariffs threaten nearly 1.5 mln U.S. jobs: Port of Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- Port of Los Angeles warned the tariffs, imposed by the White House against its main trading partners, threaten nearly 1.5 million U.S. jobs and more than 186 billion U.S. dollars of economic activity nationwide, in a new study issued on Tuesday.
The study, entitled "By the Numbers: Jeopardizing the National Benefits of Trade through U.S. Busiest Port Complex," was conducted for the San Pedro Bay ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in Southern California, the largest container port complex in the United States.
It examines economic benefits of the imports and exports to each congressional district and risk for every state's jobs, sales, income and taxes due to tariffs.
"The implications are much bigger when you consider all U.S. ports, so the effects that the Port of Los Angeles is seeing should concern all U.S. ports of entry," Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said at a press conference.
"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," said Seroka in a video posted on the port's official website.
"Some regions and industries are already feeling the pain, and the damage to jobs, income and tax revenue could be crippling down the road," he added.
The San Pedro Bay Port Complex handles approximately 40 percent of all containerized imports and 30 percent of all containerized exports for the United States, according to data released by the port this June.
The economic activity generates over 310 billion dollars annually, supports roughly 3 million jobs across the country, and reaches every one of 435 Congressional districts, while goods grown or manufactured in every state flow through these ports to reach global markets, predominantly Asia.
A trade policy relying on overuse of tariffs was not only bad for the country, but caused more harm than good to long-term economic health, Rufus Yerxa, president of the National Foreign Trade Council, was quoted as saying by the port on Tuesday.
"The administration's imposition of tariffs as high as 25 percent has raised costs for everyday consumers of basic products such as food and clothing, home appliances and our ubiquitous iPhones," said Yerxa.
"That's bad enough, but they also cause untold damage to our most competitive manufacturers and farmers, rendering them less competitive at home and abroad as production costs increase and foreign retaliation shrinks their exports," said the president.
He said that "it is now clear that a tariff war without sensible constraints is a lose-lose proposition for the vast majority of Americans."
The share of import value that may be impacted by tariffs is estimated to be 56.1 percent of containerized cargo, 16.7 percent of non-containerized cargo, and 52.7 percent of total cargo, according to the study.
Meanwhile, the share of San Pedro Bay export value that is subject to retaliatory tariffs is estimated to be 29.3 percent for containerized cargo, 23.8 percent for non-containerized cargo, and 28.8 percent of total cargo, the study said.
The effect is a threefold disadvantage for U.S. businesses and workers, the port said, indicating that import tariffs increase costs for U.S. consumers and producers.
This view was backed by Jonathan Gold, a spokesperson for Americans for Free Trade, who joined Tuesday's press conference with Seroka.
"Tariffs are a tax on U.S. companies and consumers. Recent data from Tariffs Hurt the Heartland show that Americans have paid an extra 38 billion U.S. dollars in tariffs because of the trade war and that number is only getting higher," said Gold, "it's clear the real casualties are American businesses, farmers, workers and consumers" rather than trading partners.
Moreover, tariffs make foreign products cheaper to manufacture, putting U.S. manufacturers at a cost disadvantage in the marketplace and retaliatory tariffs reduced the demand for U.S. exports, putting U.S. companies and jobs at risk.
Cargo volumes at the Port of Los Angeles for October reflect such trends, marking 12 consecutive months of declining U.S. exports, 25 percent fewer ship calls, and a 19.1-percent decrease in volume compared with October 2018.
"If cargo traffic out of the San Pedro Bay ports is declining because of tariffs, it means U.S. farmers and ranchers are hurting," Angela Hofmann, co-executive director of Farmers for Free Trade, said at the press conference.
She added that the toll had been especially heavy on the U.S. agricultural sector, with 26 percent to 51 percent of exports from all 50 states hit by tariffs, based on trade through the San Pedro Bay ports.
The top 10 most vulnerable states exposed by the tariffs are California, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Texas, Louisiana, Ohio, Arizona and Missouri, she said.
Meanwhile, an estimated 1.26 million jobs supported by imports and 206,790 jobs supported by exports in the United States are subject to the tariffs, according to the study.