WASHINGTON (Sept. 6, 2019) — Today’s announcement by the U.S. Labor Department that a disappointing 130,000 jobs were added during August, below economists’ projections, demonstrates the destructive impact that increased trade tensions are having on the economy, R Street Institute Trade Policy Counsel Clark Packard argues. 

“It is becoming increasingly clear that the president’s trade policies are a drag on the economy,” Packard said. “While job growth in the service sector remained strong, industries dependent on open markets abroad, including agriculture and manufacturing, are lagging. This is a direct result of the president’s ill-advised trade wars.”  

Much of the economic anxiety is driven by the Trump administration’s approach to China. In early August, the president announced the United States would add additional tariffs on imports from China. By the end of the year, new duties will cover more than 97 percent of imports from China.

“China does pose unique challenges for the world trading system, but an aggressive, unilateral tariff war will not change Beijing’s commercial practices,” Packard added 

While the jobs numbers are obviously disappointing, it is not too late to reverse course. R Street again calls on the administration to drop the unilateral tariffs and instead focus on piecing together a large coalition of like-minded allies to confront China’s dubious trade policy practices. Only through the World Trade Organization and sustained dialogue with Beijing will the United States and its allies be able to make improvements to China’s commercial practices.