HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Sen. Doug Jones says everyone will feel the impact of Chinese tariffs, but he says the automobile industry and farmers would take the heaviest hit.
“We have a pretty robust economy here, but it’s pretty fragile and it could go completely bust if we don’t get this trade war with China and other trade issues resolved and resolved soon,” Jones said Thursday while he was in town to speak to the North Alabama International Trade Association. “It’s going to hit business, it’s already hitting businesses, it’s hitting consumers and it’s really hitting our farmers.”
The new Mazda Toyota plant in Huntsville promises thousands of jobs in the near future. Jones said he’s concerned about what’s further down the road.
“These plans for Toyota Mazda have been in the works so they are pretty set for right now, but down the road, they’ve got to determine how many cars are they going to push out in Alabama, what’s going to be the demand for their automobiles,” Jones said. “That uncertainty for those tariffs is creating a lot of uncertainty in business.”
Jones says he’s working on legislation to help. He says he’s also working to reform the national security tariff process. Right now, the Commerce Department determines if a company or industry is a security threat — and subject to tariffs. Jones and seven other senators from both sides of the aisle want to change that.
“To try to move the national security determination out of the Commerce Department over to the Department of Defense,” he said.
International business owners here worry that if Washington doesn’t find a solution, China may choose to do business elsewhere.
“If we can’t sell our products in China, China is going to go somewhere else and get those products,” said Debbie McGee with the North Alabama International Trade Association.
And when it comes to farmers, Jones says many already are suffering from the effects of the trade war with China, especially when it comes to those growing soybeans, because Chinese companies are not renewing or even canceling contracts the farmers count on to sell their crops.