These high nonreciprocal tariffs mean more factories and jobs offshore and less investment and growth in the U.S. than we otherwise could achieve. That’s why in his 2019 State of the Union address, President Trump urged Congress to pass the United States Reciprocal Trade Act (USRTA).
Introduced by Rep. Sean Duffy. R-Wis., last January, the USRTA would give the president the authority to raise tariffs to reciprocal or “mirror” levels if foreign countries refuse to lower their tariffs to U.S. levels. Ask any American on Main Street if he or she thinks this is a good idea, and most are likely to answer “yes.”
A nationwide Harvard-Harris poll found that 81 percent of respondents support the USRTA, with little partisan difference. If members of Congress voted the views of Main Street rather than their Wall Street donors, the USRTA would pass by a similar or greater margin.
Of course, I’m not going to hold my breath on that possibility.