Worried about South Carolina Republicans in Congress who appear unlikely to act against Trump administration tariffs, the state’s largest business organization is warning about the potential impact to their home state.
“The administration’s approach to tariffs and trade needs to be broader in thought and more targeted in its application,” South Carolina Chamber of Commerce CEO Ted Pitts states in a letter to the state’s Washington delegation. “Otherwise, it will cost South Carolina jobs as manufacturers do what any business would do: shift production to other facilities around the world where it costs less to do business.”
For decades, Republicans have adamantly opposed most tariffs as they supported free-market ideas. However, the party’s representatives in Congress have put up only minor protests as President Donald Trump targets China and European Union nations he insists are engaging in unfair trade practices. Those countries have responded with tariffs on American-made products in response.
Pitts sent the letter Tuesday to each of South Carolina’s seven congressmen and two senators, urging them about “jobs at risk” if a beginning trade war were to worsen. South Carolina could be particularly vulnerable due to a heavy presence of large foreign-owned manufacturers.
BMW and Volvo have warned steel and auto tariffs could force them to shift production elsewhere. BMW has already announced it will build new SUVs — typically assembled at its Greer plant — in China to avoid retaliatory tariffs there. However, the German automaker says it still plans to add the 1,000 jobs in South Carolina it announced last year.