Trade war causing concern for central Wis. industries

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RIB MOUNTAIN, Wis. (WSAW) -- After President Donald Trump raised tariffs against Chinese imports Friday, China retaliated raising tariffs on American exports that target products produced in areas that largely voted Pres. Trump into office, places like central Wisconsin which has large manufacturing and agriculture industries.

"We're facing a country that's engaged in many, many fronts that's harming us," Dr. Peter Navarro, assistant to President Trump and White House Director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy told NewsChannel 7 Monday.

He and republican Rep. Sean Duffy met with manufacturers in Rib Mountain to talk about tariff and trade concerns.

"What President Trump is trying to do is bring them to the negotiating table to change that," Navarro said.

"One of the problems that China has is that now American companies look at reordering their supply chain, which means they start to leave China and go to other places in the world," Duffy added.

However, not all companies have shifted. Leaders from the American Soybean Association said the U.S. has met with Beijing 11 times and still no deal has been reached.

"We had record bankruptcies with family farms in Wisconsin last year," said democratic Rep. Ron Kind. "That is continuing this year because we're losing export markets. That's one way for us to sell the excess surplus... but as long as that surplus exists, prices are going to continue to plummet and more family farmers are going to be forced out of business."

Kind agrees China isn't playing fair, but the country is doing that globally. He said Pres. Trump needs to change his strategy to get results.

"Form an international coalition that's willing to stand up to China and say we aren't going to tolerate it anymore," he said. "That would make it harder for China to retaliate against us alone if the rest of the rest of the world is with us."

Dr. Navarro told NewsChannel 7 he wants to ensure people know China, not American consumers, pay for these tariffs. Technically, Chinese companies are paying the tariffs imposed on them if they trade with the U.S., but economists from the Federal Reserve in partnership with universities like Princeton, Columbia, Chicago, UCLA, and Berkeley released findings from their studies about the trade war's affects since beginning last year. Both studies found companies have passed these price increases onto consumers. Washing machines were one of the first products to see a rise in price for Americans by between $82-92. See the studies here and here.

Duffy and Navarro also coauthored a bill that would give the president more authority to raise tariffs to the same levels other countries. The bill states the U.S. is the world's largest importer of goods and also has lower tariffs for other countries, while other countries pose higher tariffs on U.S. exports.