More than 600 U.S. companies warn Trump against imposing tariffs on China

Over 600 American companies and business associations warned President Donald Trump that a trade war with China will hurt the United States, urging him to return to the negotiating table with its largest trading partner.

In a letter sent Thursday to the White House, its 661 signatories, including Walmart, PetSmart, and the American Association of Exporters and Importers, told the Trump administration that it is concerned over the recent “escalation of tit-for-tat tariffs” between the United States and China.

“We know firsthand that the additional tariffs will have a significant, negative and long-term impact on American businesses, farmers, families and the U.S. economy,” the letter said. “Broadly applied tariffs are not an effective tool to change China’s unfair trade practices.”

The letter, which is titled “Tariffs hurt the heartland,” comes in reaction to last month when the two countries repeatedly threatened to increase tariffs on one another as trade negotiations between the two economic juggernauts have stalled.

Last month, Trump announced that he would increase tariffs from 10 to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. In retaliation, China then threatened to do likewise on $60 billion of U.S. goods.

The companies said those tariffs are taxes they end up paying, not China.

“Tariff increases and uncertainty around these trade negotiations have created turmoil in the markets, threatening our historic economic growth,” the letter said.

The companies said they support the president in his battle for their intellectual property rights and to hold trading partners accountable but a trade war with China is bad for business.

“We urge your administration to get back to the negotiating table while working with our allies to develop global, enforceable solutions,” the letter said. “An escalated trade war is not in this country’s best interest and both sides will lose.”