Corporate America Speaks Against Trump’s Policies

The largest business group in the US attacks President Donald Trump’s flagship policies on trade and immigration.

GAME CHANGERS
The largest business group in the US, the Chamber of Commerce, has attacked President Donald Trump’s flagship policies on trade and immigration.

The annual “State of American Business” address from Tom Donohue, the head of the organisation, reminds about the growing tension between American business and the White House.

While he praised President Donald Trump for his decision to slash corporate taxes and cut regulation, Mr Donohue said his organisation had “differences of opinion” on a number of crucial issues.

Specifically, the head of the US Chamber of Commerce spoke against the trade war with China.

“The Chamber supports the administration’s negotiations to address China’s theft of intellectual property, forced technology transfer practices, and other unfair trade and industrial policies,” Mr Donohue said.

“What we don’t support is the development of a trade war, which is being developed and waged through mounting tariffs. Tariffs are taxes paid by American families and American businesses, not by foreigners.”

Speaking about the current immigration stand-off between Republicans and Democrats, Mr Donohue backed the calls for protections for so-called “Dreamers” — undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children — and said nothing about Mr Trump’s calls to build a wall along the US-Mexico border.

As far as immigration is concerned, the Chamber of Commerce seem to side with the Democrats.

“Our nation must continue to attract and welcome industrious and innovative people from all over the world, and finally fix our broken immigration system. This is a politically fraught issue, with passions running high on both sides, that has vexed our nation for many years. Compromise will be necessary—but it’s possible, because each side has something it wants, and each side has something to give,” he said.

He spoke in favour of cooperation with international and regional organizations such as the WTO, NATO, the EU and NAFTA.

On Thursday he spoke against preemptively pulling out of the North American Free Trade Agreement to pressure congressional Democrats to accept his revised trade deal, saying that the strategy would endanger jobs.

“The reason that I think we’re going to get this done, and we shouldn’t pull out, we’re talking about 14 million American jobs” tied to trade with those two countries, Donohue told reporters on Thursday. “If you pull out of it, what you do is you start a six-month clock where you’re back in the original agreement".

The criticisms demonstrate that the relations between corporate America and the Republican party have become strained.

Businesses have welcomed tax cuts and deregulation push, both of which have contributed to annual economic growth of 3.5 per cent, yet the companies have become increasingly concerned about the trade war with China and Mr Trump’s aggressive rhetoric over immigration.

Published: January 11, 2019