Trump's rage over China tariffs puts US economy at risk

Posted Aug 25, 2019 by Karen Graham
White House staffers have been scurrying to clean up another Trump mess as the "chosen one" sparked skepticism and fear after declaring American companies “are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China.”
Ties between Washington and Beijing are already strained by their trade war
Ties between Washington and Beijing are already strained by their trade war
Greg Baker, AFP/File
Many were quick to mock Trump’s “hereby order,” with political figures like California U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, a frequent critic of Trump, tweeting Friday, “As long as we are claiming constitutional powers we don’t have, I hereby order the President to stop tweeting.”
After his Twitter rant on August 23, Trump later clarified that he was threatening to make use of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) in the trade war. This act was a federal law passed in 1977 that gives the president powers to regulate international trade in the face of an "unusual and extraordinary threat" from abroad to US foreign policy, national security or the economy.
"We don't need China and  frankly  would be far... better off without them " US Presi...
"We don't need China and, frankly, would be far... better off without them," US President Donald Trump tweeted
Over the years, presidential administrations have increasingly used IEEPA to target individuals, groups, and non-state actors such as terrorists and persons who engage in malicious cyber-enabled activities. However, it has never been used to tip the scales in a trade dispute, reports the International Business Times.
The president's power to invoke the IEEPA as an emergency measure - particularly in the way this current president brags he can use it to force American industry to stop trading with China - leaves Congress with a big decision to make.
Congress may want to consider whether IEEPA appropriately balances the need for swift action in a time of crisis with Congress’ duty to oversee executive action. And overseeing Trump's blatant power plays is something Congress doesn't take very seriously.
Even without declaring a national emergency and invoking the IEEPA, Trump has already further weakened the economy by his retaliatory action Friday — further raising tariffs on Chinese exports to the U.S. - sparking outrage from the business community, reports
"It's impossible for businesses to plan for the future in this type of environment," David French, senior vice president for government relations at the National Retail Federation, said in a statement.
The continuing fluctuations in tariffs are already making it hard for companies to plan inventories and production schedules - even casting uncertainty in investments, said Peter Bragdon, executive vice president, and chief administrative officer of Columbia Sportswear.
Columbia manufactures in more than 20 countries globally, including China. "There's no way for anyone to plan around chaos and incoherence," he said. The company plans on continuing to manufacture in China. "We follow the rule of law, not the rule of Twitter," he said.
The Boston Herald reports that China’s Commerce Ministry issued a statement Saturday condemning Trump’s threat, saying, “This kind of unilateral, bullying trade protectionism and maximum pressure go against the consensus reached by the two countries’ heads of state, violate the principles of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, and seriously damage the multilateral trading system and normal international trade order.”