Sen. Johnson: Trump tariff plan could cost Wisconsin thousands of jobs

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WASHINGTON D.C. (WSAW) – Highlighting a new report estimating impacts of tariffs on the US economy and workers, Sen. Ron Johnson reiterated his view that thousands of Wisconsin jobs could be lost if the tariffs on foreign products President Donald Trump has imposed continue.

"Intermediate to long-term there will be a great deal of pressure on US manufacturers if they want to remain globally competitive, maintain their global and international markets. The incentive will be to move their manufacturing overseas," Sen. Johnson said.

The report was compiled by a group called trade partnerships worldwide, who says they use assessments commonly used by US policy makers, trade associations, business and foreign organizations.

It says any extra fee a tariff creates on bringing in steel, aluminum, cars and car parts from China will mean what they call a net loss for the US economy.

In March, the tariffs on Chinese products are set to increase to 25 percent. The report says if that happens, more than 14,100 jobs would be lost within the next one to three years. In that same time period, if all of President Trump’s tariff ideas were imposed, the authors project that 37,344 jobs could be lost.

At Mitchell Metal Products, in Merrill, 17 percent of the manufacture of hospital beds and Christmas tree wreath parts is overseas business.

The company’s president Tim Zimmerman says President Trump's steel and aluminum tariffs, in some cases, have caused a 40-50 percent cost increase, between last spring and fall.

While that has not meant layoffs, future job loss is a concern, because Zimmerman says the price increase has meant some of their buyers are now considering buying foreign products.

“The tariffs make domestic producers less globally competitive. And we compete on a global basis every day. And those are challenges for us,” Zimmerman said.

Johnson made the point during the news conference anyone impacted should reach out to his office to help make the case to President Trump. Zimmerman says that is exactly what their union representatives have already done.

Johnson was joined by fellow Republican Sen. Pat Toomey and Democratic Sen. Tom Carper and Sen. Mark Warner in re-iterating the report’s conclusion.