GA Rep, economics professor weigh in on latest round of tariffs

Trade war between U.S., China having effect in Coastal Empire

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - A trade dispute between the United States and China enters yet another round, with both countries imposing billions in tariffs on each others imported goods.

Even though some local elected leaders stand firm behind the President’s hard-line stance on trade policy with the Chinese, some economic experts see an escalating trade war causing more harm than good, even right here in the Coastal Empire.

Monday, President Trump announced new tariffs on $200-billion worth of Chinese goods starting in about a week. Wasting no time, China fired back today with their own retaliatory round of tariffs on U.S. goods to the tune of $60-billion.

“Trade wars tend to decrease the volume of trade, they tend to decrease what’s going out, they tend to decrease what’s coming in," said Richard McGrath, Ph.D., Professor of Economics at Georgia Southern University’s Armstrong Campus. McGrath continued, "Which means it affects shipping, it affects the Ports, it affects trucking, it affects a lot of what happens going through Savannah, because in a sense, we make a little bit of money off of everything that goes through here in either direction.”

McGrath said, “One might think that we’ve put bigger tariffs on their goods than they have on ours, and we are putting tariffs on more goods than they are on ours. That should give us an advantage. But the reality is, it doesn’t really work that way. And it doesn’t work that well.”

Professor McGrath explained the goal of the trade war is to pull manufacturing back into the U.S. from China, with a purpose of increasing business here with American firms.

From the Chinese side, McGrath explains the point is punish the U.S. for doing that.

“So while we are trying to force business to move from China back to the U.S., they’re simply retaliating by getting business to move from the U.S. to anywhere else in the world.”

Still, Georgia’s 1st Congressional District Representative Buddy Carter backs President Trump’s actions and position on trade with China.

Rep. Carter said, "There's obviously a trade imbalance that needs to be addressed. This is the President's way of addressing the situation and I applaud his efforts."

We asked Congressman Carter his thoughts on the timing of the President’s announcement of the latest round of tariffs, given the potential delay it could cause on negotiations.

“Timing is always a concern, but there’s never really a good time for it. I will tell you that I’m glad the President is not letting up. I hope that he stays with this. Because we need to bring it to a head. We need a fair trade deal with China," said Rep. Carter.

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