In this episode, the Trade Guys and Andrew welcome a special guest. Steve Lamar is the Executive Vice President of the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA), and represents members before Congress and the Administration. They discuss how tariffs are affecting the apparel and footwear industry, and look ahead to the slated Trump-Xi meeting next week on the sidelines of the G20 meetings in Osaka.
What We’re Reading
“Trump, Xi to Have ‘Extended Meeting’ at G-20”
“President Trump said he had a ‘very good’ telephone conversation with China’s President Xi Jinping and said the two leaders would have an “extended meeting” later this month in Japan.”
“The meeting, which hadn’t officially been scheduled, is aimed at repairing relations between the two countries and easing tensions over trade.”
“’Had a very good telephone conversation with President Xi of China,’ Mr. Trump said Tuesday on Twitter. ‘We will be having an extended meeting next week at the G-20 in Japan. Our respective teams will begin talks prior to our meeting.’”
Why it matters: The Trump-Xi meeting could restart trade talks, which broke down last month after the U.S. accused China of backtracking on commitments. The meeting is not likely result in anything more than a decision to restart talks and a pledge to pause further restrictive trade measures.
Key questions: How positive of a development is the meeting given how far apart the two sides are? Will the meeting provide anything new to the negotiations at the principle level to move past previous disagreements? Should businesses expect new tariffs to be off the table given the meeting?
“Over 600 U.S. companies urge Trump to resolve trade dispute with China: letter”
“Walmart Inc, Target Corp and more than 600 other companies urged U.S. President Donald Trump in a letter on Thursday to resolve the trade dispute with China, saying tariffs hurt American businesses and consumers.”
“This letter is the latest of many sent to the Trump administration by Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, the national campaign against tariffs supported by more than 150 trade groups representing agriculture, manufacturing, retail and tech industries.”
“But it is significant as U.S.-China trade tensions escalate and comes before a possible meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the June 28-29 G20 summit in Osaka, Japan. Trump has said he wants to meet Xi there and will decide on whether to extend tariffs to almost all Chinese imports after that.”
“Businesses Plead to Stop More China Tariffs. They Expect to Be Ignored.”
“Nervous business owners are spending seven days trying to persuade the Trump administration not to impose tariffs on an additional $300 billion worth of Chinese goods. Most are bracing for disappointment.”
“After several previous hearings where company officials testified against tariffs only to see them go into effect, many business leaders are becoming resigned to the idea that President Trump will do what he wants, regardless of their concerns.”
“The Trump administration says tariffs are necessary to change China’s longstanding practices of violating international trading rules and forcing American companies to hand over valuable technology.”
“Toymakers, telecom officials, port workers and shoemakers kicked off a seven-day hearing in Washington on Monday warning that Mr. Trump’s plan to impose tariffs on nearly all Chinese imports would raise costs for consumers, disrupt supply chains and potentially force them to lay off employees or go out of business.”
Why it matters: Consternation over the next round of China tariffs is growing. The Trump administration is holding a hearing stretching over seven days on the impact that tariffs on $300 billion worth of Chinese imports – nearly all remaining imports from China which are not currently subject to U.S. tariffs – would have on businesses. Testifying are a huge range of businesses, fireworks makers, bicycle producers, fishing suppliers, tech companies, and everything in between. This round of tariffs would hit consumer products, something the Trump administration has sought to avoid in previous rounds.
Key questions: Why would this fourth round of tariffs be different than other rounds? How would tariffs on consumer items impact average Americans? Have businesses been successful in lobbying the administration on China tariffs previously? Will businesses be successful this time given the scale of the tariffs?
“AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka laughs at Trump’s suggestion unions love new trade deal”
“President Donald Trump has repeatedly said unions are supportive of the new North American trade pact, as he ramps up his push for Congress to approve the deal this summer. But the head of America’s largest labor organization thinks Trump’s claim is laughable.”
“’Maybe he’s talking about the unions in some other country?’ AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told POLITICO, laughing at Trump’s suggestion that unions are ‘in favor’ of the deal his administration negotiated with Mexico and Canada to replace NAFTA.”
“’I don’t have a clue’ where Trump gets that from, Trumka said, ‘because we’re pretty united.’ Unions in the U.S., he warned, will not support the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement in its current form.”
Why it matters: President Trump needs to at least placate unions if not get their support for USMCA if it has any shot of passing a Democratic controlled House of Representatives.
Key questions: Why does President Trump believe unions support USMCA when they’ve made no statements indicating such? What will it take for unions to back USMCA? What is the administration doing to gain union support for the deal?
“Trudeau plans USMCA meetings with Pelosi, McConnell this week”
“Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau plans to meet with the top-ranking members of the U.S. House and Senate during a trip to Washington this week to get a read on prospects for bringing the new North American trade deal up for a vote in Congress.”
“Trudeau’s office announced late last week that he would meet with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but Trudeau is also now planning sit-downs later in the day with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, two senior Canadian officials and a pair of congressional sources told POLITICO today.”
“A ‘core’ objective for Trudeau in those meetings will be to get a better sense of the legislative outlook for the USMCA, one of the senior Canadian officials said. It’s a pressing concern for Trudeau, who must decide whether to push Parliament to immediately vote on Canada’s USMCA implementation bill, C-100.”
Why it matters: Trudeau faces a tight window to pass USMCA in Canada. The Parliament is set to go on recess this week and is not scheduled to return until after federal elections in October. The Parliament will dissolve in early September per law to kick off the official election period. An emergency session of Parliament could be held before early September to pass USMCA, but the schedule is still tight.
Key questions: Why is the Canadian government interested in timing its ratification of USMCA with U.S. ratification? Why can’t Ottawa ratify USMCA after its elections in October?