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Rep. Fred Upton says China tariffs need to end to keep manufacturing jobs in the U.S.

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Benton Harbor, MI, May 13, 2019 | comments
Rep. Fred Upton says China tariffs need to end to keep manufacturing jobs in the U.S.
May 13, 2019

here may not be an end in sight for those sinking market numbers.

Representative Fred Upton admitted Monday he doesn't know when the trade war will end.

Upton says the tariff impacts are wide. He says tariffs on aluminum and steel jack up the price for raw materials used by southwest Michigan's manufacturers -- that means the cost of the final product goes up, too.

Upton says if we want to keep manufacturing jobs here at home, we need to put an end to the tariffs.

Todd Gustafson is the president and CEO of Kinexus Group. His company helps with community, economic and workforce development, including for manufacturers.

"It drives the economy with about 450 manufacturers and nearly 18,000 workers," said Gustafson.

Gustafson says he wants to help southwest Michigan's manufacturers to be successful, but that's hard considering the competition.

"For years, China has been competing unfairly in the global market," said Gustafson.

Chinese subsidies of exports and unfairly low prices on products were part of the reason the Trump administration imposed tariffs on China last year.

China imposed tariffs of its own and now American manufacturers are suffering the consequences of that trade war.

"As a result manufacturers are the ones that are assuming costs that normally wouldn’t be passed on to others," said Gustafson.

"The longer these tariffs last, particularly on steel and aluminum, the more incentive there will be for us to move those jobs overseas," said Upton.

Upton says that's because if local manufacturers make their products overseas, they don't face the same tariffs when they're shipped back home. He says he's expecting to talk about finding an agreement to end the trade war when he's back in D.C. on Wednesday.

"I don’t know what’s going to happen," said Upton.

Gustafson says his clients can handle the tariffs for a little while.

"Long term, what they’re looking for is certainty and right now there’s a lot of uncertainty in the market." said Gustafson.

President Trump is expected to speak to Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G-20 Summit next month in Japan.

Upton says he hopes Monday's shake up in the market helps encourage both sides to come to an agreement.

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