August 5, 2020

USTR Shouldn’t Punish Already Overwhelmed Small Businesses

By AIFC

Two years ago, four European countries were found to be unlawfully subsidizing Airbus – one of the largest aircraft makers in the world. The World Trade Organization allowed the United States to retaliate with tariffs.  Unfortunately, Italy was included despite having nothing to do with this illegal airline feud.

Fortunately, President Trump took the right approach and uniquely Italian goods were kept off of the past two retaliatory lists. Italy needs to remain off of that list moving forward. But, as is the case with so many processes during these challenging times, the standard procedures have been complicated.

Normally, small businesses and trade associations would submit formal comments to USTR and explain the ramifications of placing tariffs on uniquely Italian goods. Right now, though, these companies are overwhelmed as America continues its recovery from Covid-19. They are consumed in handling their day-to-day operations, and it is unfair to punish them for not having the bandwidth to fight job-crushing tariffs. This is only another demonstration of why these companies should not be further burdened.

Placing tariffs on uniquely Italian products like wafers, biscuits, coffee and pasta would have a variety of consequences. At the local level, it would take away food that Americans have grown to love. On a larger and more consequential scale, it would jeopardize our economy and a valuable international relationship at a tremendously difficult time for businesses across America.

Given our current economic situation caused by COVID-19, these tariffs would raise consumer prices and threaten American jobs like importers, distributors, retailers, and more. American jobs and investment have never been more important than they are right now, and we cannot afford to risk any opportunity or source of economic growth.

This month, a fourth retaliatory list is expected to be announced. Italy is a longtime ally of the U.S. and has stood with us time and time again. They aren’t part of the Airbus consortium, and they shouldn’t be punished for the illegal behavior of others. So, once again, the Italian American community needs President Trump to stand with them – saving jobs, consumer prices, a valuable economic partnership, and some of our most beloved foods in the process.

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