Business pulling out all stops against Trump tariffs

Source: The Hill | June 23, 2019 | Alex Gangitano

Businesses are pulling out all the stops to counter President Trump’s tariffs as the U.S. trade war with China intensifies.

Trade associations are pressing the administration to reverse course on the escalating tit-for-tat tariffs. Companies across different industries are also uniting forces and forming new coalitions to make their case in Washington. And lobbyists who specialize in trade issues are busy as companies enlist them to seek tariffs exemptions

The frenzy of activity is part of multi-pronged approach as businesses tackle Trump’s trade agenda.

“Strong trade association participation for those issues that are industry-wide concerns, the individual aspect where a company or organization has its own interest and own brand, and then those smaller alliances or coalitions,” said Ilisa Halpern Paul, president of the District Policy Group at Drinker Biddle. “Many times we have clients who are doing all three at once.”

The activity is coming at a critical stretch in the trade fight.

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In the past, some companies would have just relied on trade associations to push back on the president’s policies and seek relief. But that’s not seen as enough in the current trade fight.

Because of the complicated nature of the trade rules and tariffs, companies — particularly startups and midsize businesses — are seeking lobbying firms to aid them with specific matters.

“There are occasions where a company or an organization has a very specific issue that is unique to them and it’s not something that the trade association would take on because it’s really specific to only one of its members, so that really requires an individualized effort,” Paul said. 

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