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Report: Tariff Relief Would Help COVID-19 Recovery

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A new Competitive Enterprise Institute report proposes three plans Congress and the Trump administration can enact immediately to lift trade barriers in the way of keeping people safe and minimizing economic damage in the midst and aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Tariff reform should have been a priority before the coronavirus hit, but now it’s even more urgent to lift trade barriers, in particular for health care supplies and treatments,” said Ryan Young, CEI senior fellow and author of the report. “Tariffs were never needed in the first place, and they are causing harm during a potentially Depression-level economy. The time to act is now.”

The report’s three recommendations are:

  • Repeal health care-related tariffs to immediately benefit COVID 19 patients, front-line workers, and the general population. They would gain greater supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical treatments, and at lower prices.
  • Repeal all Trump tariffs to lower consumer prices and aid economic recovery by reducing businesses’ supply costs and making costs less subject to political volatility.
  • Make big picture, institution-level reforms to U.S. trade policy: repeal Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 and Sections 201 and 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 to put Congress back in charge of making tariff decisions. That would restore tax authority to the legislature and make trade policy less subject to presidential whim.

> View the report, Repeal #NeverNeeded Trade Barriers: Tariff Relief Would Aid Virus Response, Economic Recovery, and Long-Term Resiliency, by Ryan Young