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U.S. Chamber of Commerce: Retaliatory tariffs costing Indiana $1.1 billion

In this Aug. 15, 2018, photo, visitors look at a manufacturing robot from Chinese robot maker Aubo Robotics at the World Robot Conference in Beijing, China. The United States and China imposed more tariff hikes on billions of dollars of each other's automobiles, factory machinery and other goods Thursday in an escalation of a battle over Beijing's technology policy that companies worry will chill global economic growth. 

The Section 232 tariffs of 25 percent on foreign-made steel have benefited Northwest Indiana's steel industry, prompting U.S. Steel to invest $750 million into Gary Works over the next five years and boosting the profits of U.S. Steel and ArcelorMittal during contract talks, giving steelworkers leverage they didn't have three years ago.

But the steel tariffs, and tariffs on China, also have prompted retaliatory tariffs from other countries. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates the retaliatory tariffs in a burgeoning trade war could cost Indiana up to $1.1 billion, including in lost steel exports to Canada.

A U.S. Chamber of Commerce study found tariffs threaten $1.1 billion in Indiana exports, including $82 million in cold-rolled steel to Canada, $73 million in zinc-plated steel to Canada, and $51 million in yachts to Canada.

In all, Canadian tariffs are targeting $648 million worth of Indiana exports. Duties also have been slapped $185 million worth of Hoosier exports to China, $151 million to Mexico and $73 million to Europe.

Retaliatory tariffs also raise the cost of $4.3 billion worth of exports from neighboring Illinois, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates.

“The administration is right to hold China accountable, but a trade war risks taking the starch out of the U.S. economy, which runs on pro-growth policies that grow paychecks and create new jobs," U.S. Chamber President and CEO Thomas Donohue said in a press release. "That’s not what tariffs deliver. American consumers are already paying the costs of tariffs, and those costs will nearly double if an additional $200 billion in new tariffs are imposed. There are other ways to truly achieve free and fair trade with China. As the U.S. and China take their seats at the negotiating table, it’s critical they focus on finding those solutions to address China’s unfair trade practices for the long term.”

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.